Apple and Google app stores get thumbs down from White House

Category : Business

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. take aim / teɪk eɪm / (idiom) – to target and strongly criticize someone or something

    The senators are creating a law that will take aim at healthcare fraud.

  2. stranglehold / ˈstræŋ gəlˌhoʊld / (n.) – a strong force or influence that prevents something from growing or developing freely

    The tech company has a complete stranglehold on the mobile phone market.

  3. squelch / skwɛltʃ / (v.) – to stop something from continuing by doing or saying something

    Police squelched the protests in front of the White House.

  4. mom-and-pop / ˈmɒm ənˈpɒp / (adj.) – relating to a small business owned and operated by members of the same family

    Our family has been operating this mom-and-pop shop for 20 years.

  5. playing field / ˈpleɪ ɪŋ fild / (n.) – a situation where competition exists

    Tech companies need to come up with products that will keep them on the playing field.


Read the text below.

The Biden administration is taking aim at Apple and Google for operating mobile app stores that it says stifle competition.

The finding is contained in a Commerce Department report released by the administration as President Joe Biden convened his competition council for an update on efforts to promote competition and lower prices.

The report from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration says the current app store model — dominated by Apple and Google — is “harmful to consumers and developers” by inflating prices and reducing innovation. The firms have a stranglehold on the market that squelches competition, it adds.

“The policies that Apple and Google have in place in their own mobile app stores have created unnecessary barriers and costs for app developers, ranging from fees for access to functional restrictions that favor some apps over others,” the report said.

In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal in January, Biden called on Democrats and Republicans to rein in large tech firms without mentioning Cupertino, California-based Apple Inc. and Mountain View, California-based Google LLC by name.

“When tech platforms get big enough, many find ways to promote their own products while excluding or disadvantaging competitors — or charge competitors a fortune to sell on their platform,” Biden said. “My vision for our economy is one in which everyone — small and midsized businesses, mom-and-pop shops, entrepreneurs — can compete on a level playing field with the biggest companies.”

A representative from Apple told The Associated Press that “we respectfully disagree with a number of conclusions reached in the report, which ignore the investments we make in innovation, privacy and security — all of which contribute to why users love iPhone and create a level playing field for small developers to compete on a safe and trusted platform.”

And a Google spokesperson said the firm also disagrees with the report, namely “how this report characterizes Android, which enables more choice and competition than any other mobile operating system.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The Biden administration says that Apple and Google app stores stifle competition. Do you agree or disagree with this? Why? Discuss.
  • In your country, what businesses have a stranglehold on a specific industry? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Biden said he wants an economy in which midsized businesses and mom-and-pop shops can compete on a level playing field. Do you think this is possible? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you think it is important to have a level playing field in any business industry? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Business