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Apple CEO Tim Cook says monopolies aren’t bad if they aren’t abused

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Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the existence of monopolies in business, saying that “a monopoly by itself isn’t bad if it’s not abused.”

  • Cook made the remark in a wide-ranging interview with Nikkei Asian Review on Wednesday, while denying that Apple itself has a monopoly in any sector.
  • Apple has faced several complaints about how its App Store treats app providers who compete with Apple services. This includes one by music streaming firm Spotify, which filed an antitrust complaint with European regulators in March.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has defended the existence of monopolies in business, while also denying that Apple has a monopoly in any sector.

In an interview with Nikkei Asian Review in Tokyo on Wednesday, during which Cook discussed a range of topics including Apple’s treatment of competitors, he said: “A monopoly by itself isn’t bad if it’s not abused.”

“The question for those companies is, do they abuse it? And that is for regulators to decide, not for me to decide.”

Cook insisted Apple itself is not a monopoly – a line he has maintained for the duration of his tenure, despite Apple having faced multiple anti-competition complaints from app providers who compete with its services.

In March, the music streaming service Spotify filed a legal complaint with the European Commission over alleged anti-competitive practices.

Spotify was unhappy with the 30% fee that Apple charges on App Store subscriptions, arguing that as Apple makes life extremely difficult for services that try and avoid that fee, Spotify would have to raise its prices to account for the levy.

In turn, that would make Spotify more expensive than Apple’s in-house streaming service, Apple Music, which doesn’t have to pay the same 30% levy. Cook’s reaction to the complaint was to insist that “no reasonable person” would call Apple a monopoly.

In Wednesday’s Nikkei interview, Cook also denied that big tech firms are “monolithic” and attempted to distance Apple from fellow tech giants Facebook and Google, which have both been accused of accumulating consumer data to create near-monopolies.

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