Senator Amy Klobuchar, co-sponsor of two bipartisan antitrust bills, has dismissed Apple’s opposition to the proposed laws, after CEO Tim Cook personally lobbied against the bills.

The proposed laws are designed to prevent tech giants from abusing their dominant position to favor their own products over competing ones …

Background

The American Choice and Innovation Online Act would mean, for example, that Apple Music would have to compete on an equal footing with Spotify. At present, you can take a free trial of Apple Music then sign up for a paid subscription in the app, while you can’t do the same with Spotify because Apple would want a 30% cut.

The Open Markets App would force huge changes to the App Store:

  • Competing app stores would be allowed on iPhones and Android phones
  • Consumers would choose which app store app to download
  • Consumers would choose their default apps
  • Apple and Google would not be allowed to do anything to give their own app stores an advantage

Cook has repeatedly argued that this would turn the app marketplace into the Wild West, allowing scams and malware – an argument already weakened by the number of multimillion-dollar scams found within Apple’s walled garden. Other companies, like Amazon, have claimed the laws would hamper innovation.

Senator Amy Klobuchar dismisses concerns

In an interview with The Verge, Klobuchar says that both sets of claims are nonsense.

“It’s not like we’re trying to make them or all of their innovations go away. Of course not. That’s ridiculous,” she said. “We’re simply trying to put some rules of the road in place so that they cannot give preference to their own products over others or copy the data of other companies and use it to their advantage” […]

“Everyone’s trying to win a popularity contest with the tech companies. You’ve got to come to grips that these companies will be fine. They’re trillion-dollar companies. We’re just making space for competitors,” she said.

She said that the legislation has bipartisan support. It’s not a party political issue, she says.

“We have people from all different kinds of ideologies that are committed to keeping markets competitive,” she continued. “It is much more about what’s best for America and what’s best for competition.”

That cross-party support isn’t universal, however, and the battle isn’t yet won. Klobuchar recognizes this, but says “you just can’t give up.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore

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Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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