Tim CookSource: 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.