Apple Targeted By ACCC As Shocking Track Record Exposed
Big US CE giant Apple has been targeted by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission who is set to probe their questionable business practises and the way that they do business in Australia.
Also, in the ACCC’s and their Chairman Rod Sims cross hairs is Facebook and Google who also own YouTube, WhatsApp, and Instagram as well as their PR advisors who the ACCC believes have been spinning false claims about Australian media Companies.
The investigation could also target Amazon.
The ACCC plans to tackle Apple misconduct in the market for tech giant’s apps by late March, putting Apple front and centre. That is likely to lead to more cases with new laws on the agenda
The Australian regulator is set to launch a far-reaching investigation of the digital advertising and app markets, warning the tech giants’ dominance poses a danger to consumers and the competition landscape.
The Commission’s Chairman Rod Sims said public outrage against News Corp led by former prime minister Kevin Rudd was disproportionate to the Rupert Murdoch-controlled company’s size, yet the public seemed largely apathetic or ignorant to the danger of Google and Facebook’s influence over the public consumption of news.
Sims said he would shortly release a report on Google’s power over the local online advertising market that would “have a lot to say”.
He claims that the report would likely to lead to more legal action, off the back of a landmark case against Google in the United States.
He expects the controversial media code for the tech giants to negotiate commercial deals for news content to be finalised across February and March.
The probe could see sweeping changes to the social media landscape and the way that big tech is impacting people’s lives and other media organisations, it will also reveal how little tax these organisations contribute to Australian Society.
The move comes as big US tech Companies try to control debate and the flow of information in Australia while also trying to influence debate with Twitter last week moving to ban comment by US President Donald Trump.
What has already been exposed is that these Companies will do anything to generate sales and this often involves lying to Australian consumers.
“Telling people, you can turn off location data when you can’t is pretty important.” said Sims.
Mr Sims expects the debate on new laws to better police unfair behaviour by the social media Companies to be a key issue in 2021 due to the serious threat to people’s lives in Australia.
One person told ChannelNews that they “fear that their children are growing up believing that what they read on Twitter, Instagram and Google is actually real news and the only information to believe in”.
Big tech’s influence over the control of information has come further into focus the ban on US President Donald Trump.
“These are trillion-dollar companies, they control the content and of course, they have all the data,” Mr Sims told The Australian Financial Review during an interview outlining his priorities for this year.
“People sometimes don’t realise News Corp and Nine are nothing compared to Google, you wouldn’t get that sense, but it just shows what a good job Google’s public relation do.
“News Corp are worth less than 1 per cent of Google [around $US10 billion ($12.9 billion) versus in excess of $US1 trillion] and yet they have managed to convince people News Corp are the big, bad guy,” Mr Sims said.
“We’ve got an enormous amount coming out. The ad tech report and apps report will be globally significant,” Mr Sims said.
Mr Sims said the coming regulatory pain – including current investigations related to the advertising and app markets and likely further legal action – would add to significant legal battles already being waged.
“You’ve got the Epic Games and Apple battle all about their market power in apps,” he added. “In app tech, the US Attorney-General just instituted proceedings, plus the way we are opening it up with these reports.”
The AFR said that the ACCC launched three consumer cases last year, two against Google and one against Facebook, which Mr Sims said were significant given Australia had the largest consumer penalties in the world – up to 10 per cent of company turnover.
“These will set ground rules on how the platforms communicate with their users and that can have a huge impact on how they operate,” Mr Sims said.
The big question is why consumers keep buying Apple products when their track record reveals that that will do anything to rip off consumers.
The US iPhone maker has a shocking reputation, but people keep buying their products, last year the Company was fined over $30M for deliberately slowing down older iPhone models without making it clear to consumers.
The fine was imposed by France’s competition and fraud watchdog DGCCRF, which said consumers were not warned. French authorities also fined Apple over $1 Billion dollars by antitrust regulators in France for engaging in anti-competitive agreements with two wholesalers.
The penalty imposed on the US tech giant was the largest ever handed out to a company by the Autorité de la Concurrence.
The Italian Competition Authority, Autorité Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato or AGCM, fined Apple €10 million for making misleading claims about the waterproofing of its iPhones. Affected iPhone models went back to 2017’s iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.
In other hits on the questionable Company Apple and Broadcom were ordered last year to pay $1.1 billion in damages for infringing California Institute of Technology patents on Wi-Fi technology, a jury in California ordered.
Apple was ordered to pay US$837.8 million while Broadcom was hit with a US$270.2 million verdict, according to lawyers for CalTech. The school sued the technology companies over a range of patents related to wireless data transmissions.
These are just a few of the cases that have gone against Apple.