My Complaint Email to USDOJ RE: Chase + BofA Anti-Competitive Activity Against Windows Phone
In the last week or so, Microsoft had some really big news with the announcement of Windows 10, HoloLens, and Surface Hub. They were showing true innovation on screens of all sizes and getting good press. The day before the Microsoft event and a couple of days after, something strange happened: Chase and BofA pulled their banking apps from the Windows Phone app store. Considering that they are the headline banks for ApplePay, something seemed a bit fishy to me.
I’ve never written the United States Department of Justice, but I honestly feel like something anti-competitive is being acted on here, with collusion between the banks and Apple. It bothered me so much that I sought out the email to contact the DOJ. Please find that email below.
To whom it may concern:
I do not have proof of a coordinated anti-competitive plot and I don’t have the resources to conduct my own personal investigation, but I see timing and alignment that appear too convenient for chance.
Windows Phone has a small market share in the United States smartphone market. Let’s be clear that any measurable share in this mass market is still millions of people. Chase and Bank of America invested in app development for Windows Phone. They both have mature feature sets and have customers who use these apps for banking convenience and for some, necessity as they provide mobile depositing. Mobile depositing is important to a lot of people in the “gig economy” of freelance work. Chase and Bank of America have essentially abandoned their customers unless those customers purchase a new phone and support the duopoly of iPhone and Android.
I’m sure having two apps is cheaper than having one app, but the market already demonstrated an incentive for them to initially develop the app. What changed? There are more Windows Phone users today than ever. Market share numbers are irrelevant for their purposes because the real number is growing. They are also not dependent on advertising revenue, the users of their apps are engaged in real monetary transactions, each of which has a calculable worth, to the banking institutions.
The timing of their announcements is troubling. They both came within a few days of each other. Additionally, the day that Chase announced that they would be pulling their app, just happened to be the day before Microsoft’s big event announcing Windows 10.
These applications are, like I said, mature applications. At this point, the banks could elect to not make new features and exclusively provide security updates. The cost to maintain these apps are unlikely to be cost-prohibitive.
Both of these banks are headline supporters of Apple Pay. If you go to Apple’s site for this product, the main screens of the example devices have Chase and Bank Of America proudly displayed. (https://www.apple.com/apple-pay/). Apple has been known to strong arm and exclude partners who dare to do business with the enemy. I have suspicions that Apple influenced the coordinated timing of these acts and their announcement timing to do anti-competitive harm to Microsoft. It was widely reported that Apple cut PayPal out of ApplePay for also working with Google’s Wallet program (http://appleinsider.com/articles/14/09/30/paypal-purportedly-cut-out-of-apple-pay-due-to-partnership-with-samsung). There is no reason to believe that they wouldn’t take this opportunity to cripple another competitor.
As I stated earlier, I don’t have the resources to request documents or to investigate any further than the observational deductions that I’ve outlined in this letter. It is my hope that the Department of Justice, could, at the very least, inquire with the parties as to the timing and reasoning behind these actions. Please keep in mind that the harm I suspect is not just to Microsoft, but any customer of Chase and Bank of American who is a customer of Microsoft and either bank. That customer is potentially being harmed by colluded, anti-competitive behavior and I’m appealing to the DOJ to investigate for any wrong doing.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Posted on January 30, 2015, in Just Life, Technology and tagged anti-competitive, Apple, Apple Pay, Apps, Bank Of America, banking, Chase, Microsoft, Smartphones, Technology, USDOJ, Windows Phone. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.