Japan to launch antitrust investigation into Apple and Google, report says

The Japanese government will begin investigating the deal between Apple and Alphabet with Japanese smartphone makers, which could lead to tougher antitrust regulations, the Nikkei newspaper reported on Sunday, without saying where it got the information from. .

A government panel, made up of officials, bureaucrats and outside experts, will kick off the discussion this month as Apple’s iOS software and Google’s Android software account for more than 90% of the Japanese smartphone market, the newspaper said. . The survey will include contributions from executives of domestic smartphone manufacturers as well as manufacturers of smart speakers and personal computers.

The panel will assess trade relations in Japan and determine whether they are conducted fairly in relation to doing business abroad. The government could tighten antitrust regulations if the panel uncovers problems with the investigation, the newspaper said.

In June 2020, Japan announced that it would team up with the United States and Europe to tackle any market abuse by the four Big Tech companies. This was seen as a sign that Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators.

“If the size of a merger or a business combination is important, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the process of acquiring a start-up by the buyer,” Kazuyuki Furuya told Reuters at the time. , Chairman of the Japanese Fair Trade Commission. . “We are closely monitoring developments, including in Europe.

Japan was seen as laying the groundwork for regulating platform operators. Among them are big tech giants dubbed “GAFA” – Google, Apple, Amazon AMZN.O and Facebook FB.O – who face various antitrust investigations in Western countries.

Multinational companies like GAFA have similar business practices around the world, making global coordination crucial.

“If there is a political priority for the government, there is no doubt that the FTC should think about what it can do on this front,” Furuya said in 2020.

“By participating in the government’s debate on political issues, we have reflected our thinking in the process,” he added.

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