June 4, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook denied that the company is a monopoly as the U.S. government gears up for a potentially unprecedented probe into whether the iPhone maker and other technology giants are misusing their massive market power.
Cook, speaking in an interview with CBS News that aired on Tuesday, said Apple controlled a moderate share of the market but was not too big, and disagreed with calls from some U.S. politicians that the company be broken up.
“With size, I think scrutiny is fair. I think we should be scrutinized,” he said. But, he added, “I don’t think anybody reasonable is gonna come to the conclusion that Apple’s a monopoly.”
On Monday, sources told Reuters said U.S. authorities were preparing to launch what could be a wide-ranging probe with oversight divided between the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. U.S. officials must still decide whether to open formal investigations.
Shares of Apple and other tech giants – Facebook Inc, Google owner Alphabet Inc and Amazon.com Inc – fell on Monday following news of the probe. Their shares were all up slightly in premarket trading on Tuesday.
Technology companies have faced increased scrutiny on a range of issues from privacy and their impact in the 2016 election to advertising and their effect on the marketplace.
U.S. President Donald Trump has urged closer examination of social media companies and Google, accusing them – without offering evidence – of suppressing conservative voices online. He has also repeatedly slammed Amazon, whose CEO, Jeff Bezos, owns The Washington Post, another target of Trump’s ire over its news coverage of him and his administration.
Congress has weighed in with hearings on big tech. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers on Monday welcomed potential federal investigations.
(Additional reporting by Anna Driver; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)