Tim Cook reportedly got in touch with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in addition to other members of Congress, to voice his worries about possible antitrust legislation, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
The Democrats are currently circulating drafts of antitrust bills that could affect the likes of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. If passed, these bills could impact Apple’s ability to own and operate its own App Store marketplace in the way it currently does.
The NYT report claims Cook said the antitrust bills had been “rushed,” would “crimp innovation,” and could ultimately “hurt consumers.” The report cites “five people with knowledge of the conversations.”
Tim Cook is a committed Democrat, who has previously hosted big fundraisers for the party. At one point he was even considered as a possible running mate for Hillary Clinton in her failed 2016 presidential bid. (Although this seemingly never went further than Cook being mentioned on a longlist.) Apple employees overwhelmingly vote Democrat instead of Republican in keeping with the majority of Silicon Valley.
However, in recent times regulation of the tech industry has become a more prominent feature of politics. Republican lawmakers have typically hammered the free speech part of the debate, about tech having too much power when it comes to regulating conversations. Democrats, meanwhile, worry about the monopoly power of trillion dollar companies.
Last summer, Apple was involved in an antitrust hearing at Congress, capping off a year-long investigation into Big Tech. Tim Cook testified at the event, although he largely got off unscathed.
Pelosi pushes back
According to the NYT, Nancy Pelosi pushed back against Tim Cook’s concerns. She disagreed with his request that the House Judiciary Committee delay considering the bills. She also asked him to “identify specific policy objections to the measures.”
Cook additionally is said to have contacted other members of Congress. His goal was to deliver “a warning” about the possible effects of antitrust legislation.
Cook’s phone call isn’t the only step Apple has taken to scale down the antitrust concerns. This week, some Apple-backed nonprofits sent a letter to Washington objecting to the measures. In a letter sent Monday, a number of nonprofits — including the Apple-backed TechNet, the Consumer Technology Alliance, and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation — urged the House Judiciary Committee to reject the bills. The letter noted that:
“We believe that voters want Congress to fix things that are broken. Not break or ban things that they feel are working well. We strongly encourage you to reject these proposals.”
What do you think about Congress regulating Big Tech? Does Apple deserve more scrutiny than it gets? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Source: New York Times