Senators poised to unveil new 'self-preferencing' bill targeting Apple and Big Tech

Tim Cook
Tim Cook (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • New legislation aimed at Big Tech will be unveiled today.
  • Senators are introducing a self-preferencing bill targeting companies like Apple.
  • It is designed to stop anticompetitive behavior stemming from companies prioritizing their own services.

A new piece of legislation will be unveiled in the U.S. today, designed to stop large tech companies like Apple from 'self-preferencing' their own products and services.

Per the Wall Street Journal:

Legislation to bar internet companies from favoring their own products on their platforms is gaining more support, in what could be a potential threat to the business models of tech giants like Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc. Bipartisan Senate legislation set to be unveiled on Thursday would prohibit dominant platforms from favoring their own products or services, a practice known as self-preferencing. It would also bar these dominant platforms from discriminating among business users in a way that materially harms competition.

The bill is reportedly designed to stop practices such as Amazon giving pride of place to its own products on its website, or Google boosting search results for its own products and services over rivals. For Apple, the bill could have an impact on things like App Store search results, default services and software, and even things like push notifications for Apple's own products and services.

Speaking to WSJ, senator Amy Klobuchar said that recent efforts to curb the power of big tech had been buoyed by the Facebook whistleblower saga. Speaking elsewhere to The Washington Post she said the bill was a chance to bring the 1980 Sherman Act into the 21st century and said "If there had been an Internet when Sen. Sherman was representing Ohio in the Senate, maybe they would have included this."

Klobuchar further stated that an ongoing antitrust subcommittee investigation into the power of big tech companies like Apple had raised "a common theme about how the dominant platforms were advantaged because they could exclude competitors as only a dominant platform can."

A similar bill has already been approved by the committee for the House, however, consideration has been stalled by lobbying. Apple has warned previously of the dangers of the bill, stating it could open up sideloading and third-party app stores on devices like the iPhone 13, currently the company's best iPhone. Apple says this would undermine security and privacy on its platform to the detriment of users.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

1 Comment
  • How do you know this is all for show (other than it’s a politician speaking)? For some, ahem, inexplicable reason these committees don’t seem interested in Microsoft. Not a peep out of them. Microsoft doesn’t favor their own apps and services in their dominant platform? Targeting M&A? Apple has been much much less M&A Microsoft. So Apple, maker of the Apple phone and maker of the Apple IOS can’t include Apple Music in their iOS? They can’t include other of their apps like Keychain, Contacts, FaceTime, Home etc etc? How about Safari with only 15% browser share, they can’t preload that? Apple owns the whole stack from chip to OS. Other than fair rankings and even handed rules for App Store apps, the rest is not right.