Apple, Alphabet, Amazon, and Facebook Called to Congress

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Some of the largest technology companies in the USA have yet again been called to testify at the House of Representatives to testify. They have been called many times before. This time it is on competition. Some have alleged that each of these companies has done something to hinder competition and they are being called to speak on it. In a letter written to these companies the House has asked that the CEOs of these companies be the ones to testify. They are also asking the companies to produce documents that were generated in response to competition. If the companies do not produce documentation they may be subpoenaed and obligated to produce it anyway.

For Apple the only way to publish an application is through the Apple App Store. For applications published thay way Apple earns a portion of the sales and subscriptions. Apps sold through the App store cannot advertise paying for services through means other than the App store.

Alphabet (the parent company of Google) has been accused of anticompetitive behaviours along several fronts. This includes giving preference to Alphabet provided serviced in Google searches and having an extensive advertising vertical.

Amazon is a bit unique. Previous anticompetitive cases have focused on consumer welfare. But Amazon’s practices haven’t met past criteria for poor consumer welfare. Amazon has access to lots of sells data and the computational and AI capabilities for profitably using that information and under pricing those that sell through their service.

Facebook has been accused of cutting developers off from their services to serve their own purposes. They have also purchased other services that might have competed with them otherwise (ex:Instagram). Some competitors have described Facebook as an unlawful monopoly.

Whether or not these companies engage in anticompetitive behaviour is a topic of debate. This hearing is part of an ongoing investigation into competition in technology. At the same time the EU is launching an anti-competitive investigation on Apple’s App Store and on Apple Pay. The investigation is based on a complaint from Spotify from last year and a complaint from an unnamed ebook/audio-book distributor. Their complaints are on the fee that must be payed to Apple for services purchased through the user’s iOS device and the prohibitions on communicating to users how they can upgrade their services through other means. For Apple Pay the investigation is on that being the only contactless payment solution that can be deployed to the iPhone. Especially at a time when there is increased interest in contacless transactions in the wake of COVID-19.

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NEWS:Linux on Dex Coming to More Devices

LoD

Samsung has announced that Linux on Dex is coming to more devices. Previously it was only available on non-LTE models of the Galaxy Tab S4 and on the Galaxy Note 9. Per an email that Samsung sent on Monday support is coming to the Android Pie builds of the  S9, S9+, S10e, S10+, Tab S4, and Tab S5e.

Based on interaction with others (and also being my own personal story) there are owners of the TAB S4 that haven’t yet received Linux on Dex support that wait with anticipation for support to come. I’ve not been able to confirm compatibility yet as the Pie build of Android isn’t yet available for my device. The Linux on Dex page had previously stated that none of the LTE Tab S4 models were supported. The page now only states that the Verizon LTE tablets are not supported.  I hope that this means that support for my device is coming. For now the only option is to wait.

Update (2019-April 30): Today I received the Android Pie update for the Galaxy Tab S4. It does indeed have support for Linux on Dex (finally!).