Reason Roundup

App Store Antitrust Case Could Still Tank

Plus: Sen. Josh Hawley continues anti-tech crusade, Pete Buttigieg on tariffs, "toxic femininity," Gen Z panic, and more...


A new U.S. Supreme Court ruling related to Apple's App Store has a lot of pundits and press freaking out. But it's not quite the major loss nor broad-in-scope ruling many are making it out to be.

Yes, the court said an antitrust lawsuit brought against Apple, brought by a small group of consumers, should be allowed to continue. But that doesn't mean that the consumers' claims will be found to have any merit. This wasn't a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit but merely a decision not to shut it down immediately.

"At this early pleadings stage of the litigation, we do not assess the merits of the plaintiffs' antitrust claims against Apple, nor do we consider any other defenses," the court stated.

The 5-4 decision—authored by Justice Brett Kavanaugh—saw Kavanaugh siding with more liberal justices in the majority, which of course has raised eyebrows among those who expected him to be basically a Republican puppet.

In the case, Apple v. Pepper, plaintiffs argue that the App Store is an unfair monopoly. Apple's lawyers argued that the plaintiffs had no standing to bring the lawsuit, since they're app users and not app developers.

In the dissent—written by Neil Gorsuch and joined by John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, and Samuel Alito—the justices wrote that the majority's interpretation was "not how antitrust law is supposed to work." More from the dissent:

More than 40 years ago, in Illinois Brick Co. v. Illinois … this Court held that an antitrust plaintiff can't sue a defendant for overcharging someone else who might (or might not) have passed on all (or some) of the overcharge to him. Illinois Brick held that these convoluted "pass on" theories of damages violate traditional principles of proximate causation and that the right plaintiff to bring suit is the one on whom the overcharge immediately and surely fell. Yet today the Court lets a pass-on case proceed. It does so by recasting Illinois Brick as a rule forbidding only suits where the plaintiff does not contract directly with the defendant.

This replaces a rule of proximate cause and economic reality with an easily manipulated and formalistic rule of contractual privity. That's not how antitrust law is supposed to work, and it's an uncharitable way of treating a precedent which—whatever its flaws—is far more sensible than the rule the Court installs in its place.


Freshman Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) is quickly outpacing more experienced colleagues at being The Worst:


Pete Buttigieg continues to be OK:


NEXT: Joe Biden Is Running Backwards Against Trump

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  1. Meghan McCain is the poster child for “toxic femininity”…

    THANK you.

    1. I know, right?? (or is it: “I know, right!!”)

    2. It’s an important topic. My aunt had toxic femininity. Now she won’t use tampons at all, only pads. People need to know about it.

      1. Let’s talk about ‘toxic environmentalism’ or ‘toxic greeninity’.

        At the daycare, a couple of granolas in the past would substitute diapers with recycled green diapers. They were terrible to the point the educators rebelled because of its toxic uselessness. We intervened and told the parents ‘Huggies from now on.’

    3. Hello.

    4. Poison pussy?

      1. Never trust anything that bleeds for a week and doesn’t die.

  2. Marijuana legalization in New York and New Jersey is running into roadblocks.

    Why should it get better treatment than every other human endeavor in New York and New Jersey?

  3. Bill Nye says “the planet’s on f****ing fire” and we need to “grow the f*** up”

    Good for Nye. The planet will become literally uninhabitable in 12 years unless we put Democrats back in control of the government so they can address climate change.


    1. #TuckercrushedNye

    2. Dolph Lundgren has a better claim to be a “science guy” than Nye ever will.

      1. IMDB: After graduating High School, Dolph spent considerable time studying in the United States and abroad on various academic scholarships. He attended Washington State University and Clemson University in South Carolina. In 1982, he received a scholarship to complete his Masters Degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia. In 1983, he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, one of the world’s top engineering schools.

        1. Holy crap… you could have gotten a lot of money off of me with that as a bar bet.

        2. Wiki: Lundgren received a degree in chemical engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in the early 1980s and a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney in 1982. He holds the rank of 3rd dan black belt in Kyokushin karate and was European champion in 1980–81. While in Sydney, he became a bodyguard for Jamaican singer Grace Jones and began a relationship with her. He received a Fulbright scholarship to MIT and moved to Boston.

          Slightly different but mostly the same.

    3. My favorite Nye story is the global warming experiment he and Mr. Mann still have on YouTube, where if the viewer replicated the experiment they would get opposite results. Nye and Mann actually edited the video to produce the results they wanted to happen, not what really happens in the experiment. It shows their lack of basic understanding of physics.

      1. Nye and Mann actually edited the video to produce the results they wanted to happen, not what really happens in the experiment.

        Par for the course with anything Mann’s involved with.

      2. Nye edited out the part of an earlier show where he explained how chromosomes decide which of the two genders you are.


      3. If that is true it shows their corruption of physics. If the experiment does not show what you want it to, that means the theory or the experiment is flawed, maybe both.

  4. It would shock and appall 25-year-old me that the best take 35-year-old me has heard on Facebook bannings comes from a goddamn libertarian podcast.

    If you’re not cancelling goddamn libertarian podcasts at 25 you have no heart. If you’re not begrudgingly giving goddamn libertarian podcasts their due at 35 then you have no ear for getting past inane banter for 15 minutes before getting to the substance.

  5. Quick reminder: a tariff is a tax. On Americans.

    — Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) May 14, 2019

    Like his administration would be the first in history to resist picking winners and losers. At least Trump has taken the novel approach of making many in his own base losers.

    1. So, quick reminder – it is a tax! Therefore, a good thing? Aren’t they always on the “people need to pay more taxes” side of things? And these taxes are paid by big corporations, not “the little people”. Isn’t that exactly what they always want?

      I mean, unless you are importing TVs from China yourself, you don’t pay the tariff. The importer does. And that’s a huge corporation. Like TCL, Sharp, Panasonic, Visio…. they can afford it, right? Wasn’t that their argument about corporate taxes?

      Do these people even read their own rhetoric? Is every single member of the media completely incapable of recalling something from 6 months ago?

      1. +1

  6. This wasn’t a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit but a merely a decision not to shut it down immediately.

    We’re in the age of not shutting things down being equal to an endorsement for Hitler.

    1. Well, he did nationalize the economy like the good socialist he was.
      And he created a wonderful jobs program for lots of unemployed young men.
      Other than that one thing, what was the political problem?

  7. Biden is still not my first choice, but it’s encouraging to hear him talk about #TrumpRussia.

    Joe Biden calls out Trump’s support for Putin

    The Mueller Report removes any doubt about whose interests Drumpf serves. He’s an intelligence asset of a hostile foreign power that attacked our democracy.


    1. Abrams calls voter suppression a national security threat to the nation. “If we do not secure our democracy in 2020 … we will be having a very different conversation, potentially in Russian, in 2030.” #NatSec2020

      More smart analysis of the Russian menace. I like that prominent Democrats (except the awful Tulsi Gabbard, of course) seem to be on the same page on this crucial issue. They’re behaving exactly like patriotic Americans should.

      1. Trump and Russia literally stole every election a Democrat lost the last 2 elections.

      2. Don’t you get tired of typing this shit?

    2. We need to go to war. Nuclear if needed.

      1. I read somewhere that nuclear is green; like renewable and stuff – – – –

    3. You do realize all this Russia hysteria is due to our media and elected officials being bribed by China, who wants to take Siberia from Russia. Illegal campaign contributions, the lure of the Chinese market, etc. keep them in line.

    4. “I do not think we should have pushed for an election in the Palestinian territories. I think that was a big mistake. And if we were going to push for an election, then we should have made sure that we did something to determine who was going to win.”

      – Hillary Clinton

  8. Hey journalists if you want to be a cop be a cop. That’s not our job.

    — Gene Park (@GenePark) May 8, 2019

    Hey, many journalists still rely on easy stories from parroting police blotters.

  9. What I find interesting is that if you have an iPhone, it doesn’t appear that you can change the default browser from Safari unless you jailbreak the phone. Didn’t Microsoft get fined millions over less than that because of IE?

    1. Microsoft is out there open sourcing everything and shipping full Linux kernels with Windows, while Apple operates in anti-competitive ways that 90s Bill Gates could only dream of. It’s amazing how things can change.

      1. But Microsoft products were forced on everybody while Apple products just languished on the shelves.

      2. Also, Gates is currently the greatest philanthropist of all time. While Steve Jobs was a selfish jackass.

    2. Yeah, it’s puzzling. I looked into it once, and the really weird thing is apple is (or, at least *was*) indemnified from anti-trust claims by being even more monopolistic (vertically integrated). They have no “partners” who are being “unfairly forced” to ship apple’s software with their os. Ironically, making the OS available to multitudes of hardware OEMs (and giving consumers competition and choice) is exactly why Android and Windows were subject to that particular anti-trust claim. It will be interesting to see if a consumer-driven suit is successful.

      I’m not a fan of apple, I think they’re actively anti-consumer and have done incredible damage to the industry with their refusal to support standards or interoperate with other systems… Perhaps the only real-life example of an “evil corporation” (though I was impressed by their stand against the FBI for user privacy).

      1. I disagree. I like that there is a competitive android ecosystem AND a seamless, vertically integrated solution.


        Are iPhone apps more expensive than android? I don’t really buy apps.

      2. Their stand ‘against’ the FBI was mostly to avoid having their code examined by people who could code.

  10. The video platform for years has incentivized such content through algorithms favoring sensational videos, and, as recent reporting has revealed, has deliberately ignored toxic content as a growth strategy.

    As a share owner of Google I applaud this strategy. Buzzfeed very occasionally has a good article, but most of it is dumbassery like this shit.

    1. I’m flagging your remarks as toxic content.

    2. Leftists can never fathom the simple concept that corporations are just giving consumers what they want, rather than nefariously scheming to control the consumer’s behavior.

      And complaining about the promotion of sensational content is pretty rich coming from the mother of all clickbait journalism sites

      1. Seems like both sides are guilty of this

        “Stand for something…”

  11. The video is called “Be Not Afraid,” and it may be the clearest manifestation yet of the culture the executives of Alphabet’s video monster are delivering to millions of kids around the world, now via children incubated in that selfsame culture.

    I’m beginning to suspect maybe clickbait journalism can’t find woke compatibility with free speech principles.

  12. Indpt experts spent 4 days at the Houston home where 2 ppl were killed in a drug raid. They found no signs the pair fired at cops – and plenty of signs that CSI teams did a cursory investigation, leaving behind bullets, tagged evidence & 2 teeth.

    Only drug dealers can afford independent experts!

  13. “Hey journalists if you want to be a cop be a cop. That’s not our job.”


    Yes, the job of journalists is to inspire and feed off moral panics, make the American people feel smart while leaving them uninformed, and, perhaps most important of all, their job is to fail miserably at controlling the boundaries of the Overton window.

    1. Funny, I thought it was to shape opinion and ensure the perpetuation of the power of the state, particularly the state as run by the Democrat party.

    2. What do we call it when journalists dig through search warrants?

      The only difference here is that ENB is pro hooker. But doesn’t she want them to be safe?

  14. It would shock and appall 25-year-old me that the best take 35-year-old me has heard on Facebook bannings comes from a goddamn libertarian podcast.

    To be fair to Herzog, her Twitter feed is one of the few interesting ones left on that platform. Like Michael Tracy and Glenn Greenwald, she’s a liberal who isn’t a complete social retard and revels in being despised by both sides.

    I believe she was the one who did a running thread on “Shattered” that was a must-read.

    1. Well, 25 year old you probably had no idea what a libertarian was. But 25 year old you probably could parrot that Ayn Rand was literally Hitler and libertarians are all just white supremacists who want to get high.

      35 year old you has heard enough about political theory to know better, but still has the “feelings” about libertarianism that those early ill-informed distortions built in to your brain. Hence your cognitive dissonance when hearing actual libertarian thought and confronting the fact that libertarians are more committed to, you know, actual liberty than your fellow travelers in the authoritarian world.

  15. Speaking of journalists and their pathetic attempts to control the boundaries of the Overton window, you won’t hear much about the ongoing investigations into Obama’s FBI using the FISA courts to spy on the Trump campaign in 2016, but the third ongoing investigation was formalized by the Attorney General yesterday. Listing the three:

    1) The Justice Department’s Inspector General

    He’s looking at why the FBI continued to cite a source as credible in a later FISA application for an extension to spy on the Trump campaign–after the the FBI had cut off all ties to that source because they determined his actions meant that his testimony was no longer credible.

    2) Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed John Huber to determine whether a special counsel was necessary to investigate the FBI’s spying on a presidential campaign. That investigation is still ongoing.

    3) Yesterday, Barr appointed John Durham to look at the early stages of the FBI’s spying on the Trump campaign.

    MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters and honest liberals everywhere should all agree that when the FBI spies on a presidential campaign, they better have their ducks in a row–or there should be hell to pay. Now that we know there was no persuasive evidence of collusion between Trump and Putin in the 2016 election, it’s time to find out why the FBI was acting like the fucking KGB.

    1. We know why they did it, but what will come of it? Nothing.

      1. That depends, were they grossly negligent or extremely careless?

        1. Like all government stooges, both.

          1. …and much much more.

      2. “We know why they did it, but what will come of it? Nothing.”

        Even if no one goes to prison, we may dissuade the FBI from spying on future presidential campaigns–and that’s not nothing.

        Holding one armed robber accountable won’t stop other armed robbers entirely, but it may still serve as a deterrent.

        Even if the only negative consequences for the FBI’s misbehavior are having their misbehavior brought to light, that needs to be the negative consequence of their misbehavior at the very least.

        After the way Barr was treated on Capitol Hill, it may even be personal for him. And maybe that’s good. They came after him personally for his handling of the Mueller Report, so it makes sense that he’d want to be publicly exonerated by a full investigation of the FBI.’

        Oh, and once you appoint a special prosecutor, somebody is almost certainly going to jail. Every special prosecutor comes under intense scrutiny by one of the parties and typically demonized. No special prosecutor wants to suffer that kind of demonetization and spend all that tax payer money without producing a scalp to show for it.

        1. At the very least, it put bureaucrats on notice that Americans will not fall for a coup that easily.

          Hopefully it deters bureaucrats from trying that shit in the future…or they might just up their game.

    2. Comey made big news over the weekend, and everyone ignored it.

      In justifying his actions vis-a-vis using “informants” to infiltrate the Trump campaign, he said that having people infiltrate presidential campaigns is done all the time.

      And nobody noticed.

      The press took it as “well, see! No big deal! They do it all the time!” But what they should have said is “Holy crap! You were doing this all the time? Did you have people inside the Sanders campaign? Clinton? What about Mitt Romney’s campaign??? ”

      Instead the reaction was “See? You MAGA idiots are delusional…. they have surveillance on all the presidential campaigns. It is totally normal…”

      1. Bill Clinton is a literal rapist and nobody cares. You think spying will cause an issue?

        1. Nobody cares:

          Obama, whose administration prosecuted and spied on reporters, claims Trump is very bad for criticizing newsrooms
          The Justice Department seized the records of at least five phone lines connected to Fox News. The federal law enforcement agency even seized the phone records of Rosen’s parents. The FBI also got a warrant to search Rosen’s emails from 2010.

          In May 2013, the Associated Press revealed that the Justice Department had secretly collected two months’ worth of personal and work-related phone calls made by AP reporters and editors.

          1. Nobody cares:

            Last Chance for the Truth
            The Republicans in Congress who led the investigation couldn’t make anything stick either. Not that they didn’t try, but without the daily pressure of CNN and the New York Times repeating the allegation that Obama administration officials had used the IRS for political purposes to muzzle the tea party movement by denying organizations that sprung from it tax-exempt status, it ended up a big yawn, with just about everyone losing interest after Donald Trump was elected president.

            The truth, though, matters. And if the former IRS official at the center of the controversy, Lois Lerner, gets her way, we may never know just what that is. According to a report appearing in Tuesday’s Washington Times, Lerner and her former deputy, a woman named Holly Paz, have asked a federal judge to seal “in perpetuity” tapes and depositions they gave in a court case earlier this year arising from complaints made against the agency for which they both once worked.

            1. Any judge that allows this type of sealing of records is a fucking traitor to the USA.

              Redact personal info like SSN, DOB, and address but all other bureaucrat info should be public record.

              if my military service record is public record (which it is) then these IRS pukes should have all their misdeeds available for those that want it. Forever.

    3. MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters and honest liberals everywhere should all agree that when the FBI spies on a presidential campaign, they better have their ducks in a row–or there should be hell to pay.


      That’s a serious question. Did the government spy on Trump’s campaign? Yeah, probably. It also probably spied on everyone else’s campaign. And on that dick pic you texted your girlfriend while your wife was looking the other way. And what kind of dog food your neighbor ordered off Amazon.

      So if you want to alarm me, you’ll have to do better then “the status quo applies to rich people too!”

      1. A sitting president using the FBI to spy on his rival’s campaign is unacceptable for reasons that go beyond the Fourth Amendment.

        This is pretty much like that.

      2. That’s the question, isn’t it?

        Because I don’t believe for one second that they spied on everyone else’s campaign. The Obama White House was (illegally) getting the information from the wiretaps. Remember “unmasking”? It was a pretty big deal…. but the spin was that the big deal was that people in the Trump campaign were (illegally) working with the Russians. We now know that this was not true, and likely was never believed to be true by those who were directly involved in the surveillance.

        But here’s why I’m really, really confident that the government wasn’t “doing it to everyone else too”…. imagine for one second that the Bush White House and the Bush FBI/CIA/NSA were spying on the Obama campaign. Let it sink in for a second.

        Yeah… that didn’t happen. You’d know about it if it did. The left and the Obama administration spent years denigrating the Bush administration and calling every human on the planet who dared criticize them in any way a racist. Do you really think that they’d just let this one slide? Not a chance.

  16. “Jury awards couple $2 billion in Monsanto Roundup cancer lawsuit trial”
    “A jury in Oakland, California, has awarded a couple $2 billion in punitive damages after concluding that sustained exposure to Monsanto Co.’s popular Roundup weed killer led to their cancer diagnoses. The couple will receive an additional $55 million for pain and suffering and to cover medical expenses….”

    12 idiots are willing to screw the stockholders of Beyer ’cause ‘feelz’, but it is Oakland.

    1. Scientific!

    2. Bayer really fucked up.

      They thought they were buying a growth business and turning themselves into something other than a low margin consumer products business. All they did was give plaintiffs’ attorneys some deep pockets to mine.

      Fortune 500 companies have been effectively taken over by plaintiffs’ attorneys for less–like what they did to Dow Corning with the phantom diseases caused by breast implants.

      1. Speaking of that Ken, do you think its a bit suspicious that Americans sell these companies for big bucks to foreign companies and then the companies get sued with 7-10 digit verdicts?

        Then Americans buy back the scraps.

        Quite a few companies had this happen. I tend to lean that some lawyers are just greedy pigs who have friends that create bad laws, the courts accept weak evidence, and juries return large verdicts against deep pockets.

        1. I think Bayer failed in their due diligence. A CEO tries to make a big move, and then his career sinks or swims based on whether that deal happens. Once you convince your shareholders and your board to stop doing what they’ve been doing for a hundred years and become a completely different company, you can’t just come back and say, “Scratch that. The potential liability isn’t worth it”.

          You can do that, but doing the smart, right thing is still career suicide at that point.

          I think what happened is something like that.

          It’s hard to estimate risk, sometimes. Bear Strearns and Lehman disappeared for the same kinds of reasons. How can the homes behind those CMOs be worth less than 10 cents on the dollar–even if loans aren’t performing? They were right about that. They were just wrong about how long it would take for those assets to realize their full value–and it destroyed two of the oldest and most respected investment banks in the USA.

          Creative destruction is coming. Things that have always been the same change. It’s hard to predict the future. Monsanto has been doing the same thing for decades. Yeah, I’m sure Monsanto saw the writing on the wall, but that’s true for every investment. Every time you buy a stock from someone, you’re paying more for it than the guy that’s selling it thinks it’s worth to hold it.

          And the thing is that Bayer may be right on the science–just like Dow Corning was. When all your scientists are telling you that the product is fine, do you ignore them?

          I don’t think it’s about Americans vs. Germans so much as it’s about American innovators knowing when to fold ’em.

    3. We really need a fix for this stuff.

      It isn’t as outlandishly stupid as the talcum powder awards, but it is pretty close.

      The way our legal system is working right now, sympathetic cancer patient + big company that makes chemicals = huge award.

      Even the studies that they cite about roundup show that the likelihood that this guy was harmed at all is extremely low. And that’s without the evidence put up by the defense. The judge should have come back with a directed verdict on this one… But there ya go.

      Another “Dow Corning breast implants” case. Of course, if this doesn’t get set aside, we just end up going without roundup any more. Which is probably the ultimate goal – not of the particular attorneys, but of the researchers putting out the nonsense used in these cases. They are really opposed to GMOs, and use this as a proxy. “you can’t use that very save herbicide and an engineered resistant crop! You must use a much more dangerous herbicide that costs many times more and is much less effective!!! Because Frankenfood!”

    4. Those verdicts won’t stand.

      The EPA says glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, doesn’t cause cancer.

      1. Yeah, that answer did’t help dow-corning either.

  17. Pete Buttigieg continues to be OK

    You think he’s against taxes?

    1. What, me tax?

      1. Ha! Damn, he does look like that.

        1. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. It’s beautiful.

    2. Sounded to me like he was endorsing the tariffs?

  18. “saw Kavanaugh siding with more liberal justices in the majority, which of course has raised eyebrows among those who expected him to be basically a Republican puppet.”

    Only the biggest partisan suckers of either side expected this. He’s a big statist through and through

  19. Some of you may remember the “libertarian paternalism” and “nudge” thread from a couple of weeks ago (link below).

    In general, one of the ideas is that you allow people the freedom to choose between alternatives, but the “undesirable” alternative is made to require more effort.

    For instance, if you register people to become organ donors by default at the DMV, the number of organ donors goes way up. People can still opt out, but that requires more effort and people favor the alternative with the least amount of effort. You may notice your employer opting you into your 401k by default and assigning you a fund, where it used to require more effort to opt in.

    Well, the topic of “nudging” has become all the rage–and climate disaster enthusiasts are concerned because anything that suggests there might be a solution to global warming that doesn’t necessarily require authoritarian socialism is evil and wrong.

    Exhibit A:

    People drop support for a carbon tax when getting less effective “nudges”

    After the explanation for their scientific experiment, here’s the money shot:

    “The availability of a limited, comfortable nudge policy made people more likely to step away from the higher perceived cost of the carbon tax.”

    So, you guys understand why giving people options is unacceptable, right? It’s because when people are given the option to make choices for themselves, not enough of them choose the authoritarian socialist solutions that are necessary to save the environment.

    It’s science.

    1. Original Reason thread:

      “The Problem With Nudging People to Happiness”

  20. A reminder to the Buzzfeed staff = Learn to code you losers.

  21. Alan Dershowtiz ROASTS Harvard and Harvard students for #MeToo insanity:

    “This may be the worst violation of academic freedom during my 55 year association with Harvard. Any student who feels ‘unsafe’ in the presence of Dean Sullivan and his wife does not belong at a university.”

  22. FakeaHontus on the war path.

    Elizabeth Warren Turns Down Fox News Town Hall, Calling the Network a ‘Hate-for-Profit Racket’

    1. Dumb move…
      First, the audience on Fox is many multiples of the audience she is getting on CNN.

      Second, if she had watched Bernie she’d know that she’s going to get a fair hearing. More than fair. And it won’t be so sycophantic that it is useless to the voters, like a CNN or MSNBC appearance.

  23. “it seems a bit performatively clueless at times”

    You seem clueless as to how to use “performatively” properly.

  24. It would shock and appall 25-year-old me that the best take 35-year-old me has heard on Facebook bannings comes from a goddamn libertarian podcast.

    The real shocker here is that 25-year-old-her knew what a libertarian was.

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