Elizabeth Warren calls on DOJ antitrust head to recuse himself from Apple & Google probes
Democratic Senator and U.S. Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is urging the chief of the Justice Department's antitrust division to recuse himself from investigations into Apple and Google, noting that he has lobbied for both corporations in the past.
Makan Delrahim lobbied for Apple between 2006 and 2007, looking to influence patent legislation, Warren said in a letter on Tuesday seen by Reuters. In 2007, Delrahim lobbied for Google to win support of its eventual takeover of DoubleClick.
"As the head of the antitrust division at the DOJ, you should not be supervising investigations into former clients who paid you tens of thousands of dollars to lobby the federal government," Warren wrote. Delrahim's income from Google alone was allegedly $100,000.
Warren has long been a staunch critic of American corporate business practices, most famously confronting corruption in the banking industry. In her Presidential run Warren has shifted some focus to the tech sector, calling for the breakup of multinational tech giants — Apple among them — much in the same way the U.S. government has broken up monopolies by companies like AT&T, Standard Oil, and J.P. Morgan.
The Justice Department is eventually expected to launch formal investigations of Apple and Google, both of which control wide swaths of the tech industry.
One concern for Warren and others is the iOS App Store. Apple doesn't allow iOS apps to be sold anywhere else, yet it typically claims 30% in revenue from each transaction, and often blocks apps it considers "duplicates" of first-party content. This and a lack of OS-level integration can make it difficult for third parties to compete, and indeed Spotify is pursuing a complaint along those lines with the European Commission. Other groups are pursuing U.S. lawsuits.