Tim Cook spent 40 minutes on the phone with Ted Cruz over antitrust bill

iPhone event
iPhone event (Image credit: Apple)

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.

CNBC reports:

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.

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

  • I'd like to send Tim a sympathy card.
  • So people just deny that there is always trusty problem in the tech?
  • There isn’t any doubt that it will be more insecure, that more people will be scammed, more people will incur spyware/malware, and there will be more straight up rip off copycat apps as well as compromising of privacy. One can argue that the number won’t be substantial but no serious argument can be made the above negatives will not happen at some level.
    No one should expect politicians to debate something the serious part as that above reality. Their main goal is entirely glib, to show people/media that they are going after big tech(which includes Apple). But sideloading specifically is a hilarious point, a joke. This is Meta’s lobby spending in Washington DC. They want to get around app track blocking and will do anything they can to try to make it happen. Whoever is sponsoring/pushing this can expect campaign coffers to be filled by any number of Mea by another name pac or org.
  • "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." This should be a lesson for Apple. You reap what you sow. Removing the Parlor app from the App Store was not forgotten. Personally, that's not my thing and I had no use for the app, but I very much agree that this was an act of censoring public debate and needs to be addressed. There are consequences for actions and Apple will ultimately have to pay the price for what they've done.
  • If they allow sideloading, they are effectively allowing alternative AppStores and their alternative payment systems.