What you need to know
- A big new antitrust bill was advanced by a Senate Committee on Thursday.
- Lawmakers in the U.S. are trying to open up markets like the iPhone to alternative App Store payments and sideloading.
- Senator Ted Cruz revealed that CEO Tim Cook spoke to him personally on the phone for forty minutes on the matter.
Senator Ted Cruz has revealed that Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to him personally on the phone for forty minutes regarding a new Senate antitrust bill that advanced out of a Senate committee following a vote Thursday.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 Thursday to advance a major tech competition bill, which some experts consider legislators' best shot at making substantial reform to laws that govern the industry.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act passed in a bipartisan manner, setting it on a path to potentially be adopted by the full Senate.
The bill contains provisions to stop big tech companies favoring their own products on services on their platforms, but also contains legislation that would force Apple to permit sideloading apps on iPhone and possibly open up alternative payments for apps on the App Store.
Senator Ted Cruz revealed during proceedings that Tim Cook had called him on Wednesday, Jan 19, and had expressed "significant concerns about the bill":
"One issue that he raised, that I thought was a reasonable issue, was a concern that the bill would erect obstacles to Apple giving consumers the ability to opt-out of apps monitoring what they're doing online where they're going, and what's occurring on their phone," Cruz said.
In a letter to the Senate Committee this week Apple's Timothy Powderly said the bill would eliminate consumers' choice, and that Apple offered "a platform protected from malicious and dangerous code." Cruz said that he didn't read the language of the bill that way and that his goal was to stop online platforms censoring public debate.
Apple has warned that sideloading and alternative App Store payments could have a big negative impact on users of all of Apple's best iPhones and iPads, and could open up major security and privacy concerns.