Senator Asks FTC and DOJ for 'Rigorous Oversight' Into Apple, Google, and Amazon's Expansion Into Automobiles

United States Senator Elizabeth Warren this week penned a letter [PDF] to antitrust officials at the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, requesting that they investigate "Big Tech's expansion into the automotive industry." Warren specifically called out Google, Apple, and Amazon, saying that the companies are setting themselves up to be a "one-stop shop for automakers," for data collection, cloud storage, analytics, in-car navigation, voice assistants, and autonomous driving collection.

Apple car wheel icon feature yellow
In the letter that was shared by Vox, Warren says that Google, Apple, and Amazon are leveraging their market power in digital app markets, mobile operating systems, and data infrastructure to become "the dominant players in the automotive sphere," which Warren says has "alarming implications for developers, workers, and consumers."

Warren highlights Apple's June 2022 CarPlay announcements, where the company debuted the next-generation ‌CarPlay‌ platform that will "reinvent the car experience" and integrate more deeply with in-vehicle hardware. She also points out that Google has entered into a partnership with Ford that will see Ford using the Android Automotive Operating System, and Amazon is developing autonomous driving systems.

The senator claims that Apple and Google's expansion into cars threatens to spread "anticompetitive mobile app markets practices" to automobiles, citing in-app purchase requirements and the fact that ‌CarPlay‌ and Android Auto apps must be approved by Apple and Google, respectively, before being allowed into vehicles.

Allowing Big Tech into the automotive industry could "stifle a nascent industry" and price developers out of the market.

For these developers, allowing Google and Apple to take control of car operating systems could mean an end to their ability to compete outside Google's and Apple's restrictive platforms. Automotive applications have significant potential to provide drivers and passengers with information, enhance safety, and provide entertainment. But allowing Big Tech companies to cement their exclusive control over the terms of auto app competition could stifle a nascent industry.

Warren is asking the FTC and the DOJ to use their authority to address concerns as they emerge and "prevent further overreach by Big Tech companies." She says that without "proactive and rigorous oversight," Google, Apple, and Amazon will "bring their anticompetitive, anti-consumer, and anti-labor practices to the automotive sector."

Apple's CarPlay system has been in vehicles since 2014, and it has become ubiquitous, with most major vehicle manufacturers supporting the feature in modern cars. Apple is also working to expand further into automobiles with a full autonomous vehicle, a project that has been in development for many years now. Current rumors suggest that some kind of Apple-branded vehicle could be introduced as soon as 2025.

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Top Rated Comments

CarAnalogy Avatar
17 months ago

She says that without "proactive and rigorous oversight," Google, Apple, and Amazon will "bring their anticompetitive, anti-consumer, and anti-labor practices to the automotive sector."
Oh no! Not our perfect automotive sector! There's no corruption or problems there!
Score: 46 Votes (Like | Disagree)
macsimcon Avatar
17 months ago
Will someone please tell Senator Warren that she should focus on anti-competitive behavior from Amazon and Facebook, and leave Apple alone? I for one WANT Apple creating my dashboard interface.
Score: 32 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GMShadow Avatar
17 months ago
"When asked for comment on her qualifications to make such a determination, Warren screamed at reporters that they were sexist, and that being in government meant she was qualified to rule over the peasantry in whatever fashion she deemed fit."


And if you think she is qualified, I will add this.


She also points out that Google has entered into a partnership with Ford that will see Ford using the Android Automotive Operating System
Ford's SYNC system has been built variously on Windows Embedded Automotive and Blackberry's QNX. They're moving it to Android Automotive because QNX is dying. This is not a conspiracy - it's the automakers wisely deciding not to reinvent the wheel when it's not necessary.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bluespark Avatar
17 months ago
Some good points here -- as Big Tech ventures into other areas, there is enormous potential for the misuse of consumer data. I suspect Apple is much better at protecting this than its competition, but it makes sense to have regulatory attention here. If anything, this ultimately is likely to be advantageous to Apple, as other companies may be held to a tighter standard than they would be if left to their own approach.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mansplains Avatar
17 months ago

"When asked for comment on her qualifications to make such a determination, Warren screamed at reporters that they were sexist, and that being in government meant she was qualified to rule over the peasantry in whatever fashion she deemed fit."

And if you think she is qualified, I will add this.
Recall her claim to indigenous heritage whilst DNA tests resulted in an ancestry of 1/1024th.

The only identity her testing proved is that she's 100% politician.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ?️ Avatar
17 months ago
Apple car is not even out yet in the market. Sounds like creating a problem when there are none.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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