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Apple joins list of Elizabeth Warren's tech breakup targets

Senator wants the company separated from its App Store.

2019 SXSW Conference And Festival - Day 2
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks about her plan to break up tech giants such as Apple and Google at this week's SXSW Conference And Festival.
Gary Miller/FilmMagic

If Sen. Elizabeth Warren had her way, the landscape of tech giants would be radically different.

The Democratic presidential candidate says tech companies such as Amazon, Google and Facebook have too much influence over our lives and would like to see them broken up. But when she made that proposal Friday, she left a big name off her tech hit list: Apple.

The Massachusetts senator said during an interview published by The Verge on Saturday that she feels Apple's App Store gives the company too much of a competitive advantage.

"Apple, you've got to break it apart from their App Store. It's got to be one or the other," Warren said. "Either they run the platform or they play in the store.

"They don't get to do both at the same time," she said.

Warren sees tech companies gaining too much power over the economy, society and democracy, she explained in a blog post Friday.

"They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else," she wrote about the tech titans. "And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation."

Warren suggested passing laws that prevent large e-commerce platforms (with global annual revenue of $25 billion or more) from owning both the platform and any sellers on it.

"This would not be the first time in US history that this kind of arrangement had to be broken up," Warren said, comparing the tech companies to the railroad barons who dominated US commerce during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

"Back when the railroads were dominant, and you had to get steel or wheat onto the railroad, there was a period of time when the railroads figured out that they could make money not only by selling tickets on the railroad, but also by buying the steel company and then cutting the price of transporting steel for their own company and raising the price of transporting steel for any competitors," she said.

Apple declined to comment. 

The iPhone maker, which frequently tops the list of most valuable US companies by market cap, reported in January it brought in $84.3 billion in revenue during the second quarter, a decline of about 4 percent.

The story originally published on March 10 at 9:49 a.m. PT. 

Update, March 11 at 10:14 a.m. PT: Includes response from Apple. 

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