Tim Cook PeopleSource: Brooks Kraft/Apple

What you need to know

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly called members of Congress to warn them against the use of antitrust legislation.
  • Cook says that such legislation could harm innovation.

Apple CEO Tim Cook personally called Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress to warn them of the potential ramifications of future antitrust legislation according to a new report. Apple is currently in the middle of a few such investigations around the world but the one at home is top of the agenda right now.

According to a New York Times report, Cook spoke with Pelosi and claimed that the proposed antitrust bills were rushed while also noting that they would impact the potential for innovation.

The antitrust bills were rushed, he said. They would crimp innovation. And they would hurt consumers by disrupting the services that power Apple's lucrative iPhone, Mr. Cook cautioned at various points, according to five people with knowledge of the conversations.

The report suggests that the call didn't go well, with Pelosi asking for specifics while also rejecting a request for a delay in the hearing of the bills.

Ms. Pelosi pushed back on Mr. Cook's concerns about the bills, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations. When Mr. Cook asked for a delay in the Judiciary Committee's process of considering the bills, Ms. Pelosi pushed him to identify specific policy objections to the measures, said one of the people.

Apple is in the metaphorical dock over the way its App Store does business and whether it is unfair to companies who compete with its own apps. Apple could potentially be prevented from installing its own apps on iPhones at build time, meaning devices wouldn't ship with Mail, Safari, Reminders, and other first-party solutions. All this will come far too late for iPhone 13 but it could change the way iPhones are sold in the future.

Whether any of this will come to pass is anyone's guess at this point, but it's an issue that won't go away. Similar investigations are underway internationally and the winds of change could be gathering enough pace to actually change something this time.

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