Science, Technology, and Social Media

Apple CEO Tim Cook Reportedly Phoned Pelosi To Warn Her Against Antitrust Bills

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Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress last week, warning lawmakers that newly proposed antitrust legislation would harm consumers and hurt innovation, five sources with knowledge of the conversations told The New York Times.

Lawmakers introduced a series of antitrust bills that target Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon, The New York Times reports. The legislative efforts seek to rein in the tech companies by addressing alleged anti-competitive practices and by curbing monopoly power, according to a report by CNET.  

Pelosi pushed back on Cook’s warnings, asking him to name specific policy objections, two sources with knowledge of the conversations told The New York Times.

The antitrust legislation includes the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which aims to prevent tech giants from preferencing their own services, as well as the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, which seeks to prevent larger tech companies from acquiring smaller competition. Other bills in the legislative package address conflicts of interest and funding of antitrust efforts.

Cook’s reported warnings are part of a larger lobbying effort by the tech industry to influence lawmakers’ decisions on antitrust legislation, according to The New York Times. Kent Walker, Google’s vice president for global affairs, also reportedly called lawmakers and objected to the bills.

Similarly, Amazon’s Vice President of Public Policy Brian Huseman issued a statement Tuesday encouraging lawmakers to “slow down, postpone the markup, and thoroughly vet the language in the bills for unintended negative consequences.”

“We believe they [the bills] would have significant negative effects on the hundreds of thousands of American small- and medium-sized businesses that sell in our store, and tens of millions of consumers who buy products from Amazon,” Huseman said.

The tech giants have faced a number of other antitrust challenges.

The Federal Trade Commission, for example, sued Facebook in December of last year for its alleged anti-competitive data practices. Similarly, 38 state attorneys general sued Google in December for its alleged practice of manipulating search results to prioritize its services, a practice expressly addressed in the recent legislation.

The Biden administration appointed Lina Khan, a vocal Big Tech critic, to head the Federal Trade Commission earlier this month. Khan wrote an article, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” while a student at Yale Law School, arguing for more aggressive regulation of digital markets.

Apple, Google, and Amazon did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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