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Big tech is big mad over a pair of antitrust bills in Congress

The tech giants are going on the offensive.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Jan 19, 2022   Updated on Jan 19, 2022, 1:48 pm CST

Two big tech giants, Apple and Google, are trying to convince Congress not to pass several antitrust bills that were introduced last year.

The two companies have pushed back against the Open App Markets Act and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. Both of the bills were introduced last summer and would have major impacts on the two companies. Both bills are expected to be debated in Congress this week.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would essentially prohibit big tech companies from prioritizing their own products over the competition.

Meanwhile, the Open App Markets Act aims to have more competition on app stores like Google’s Play Store and Apple’s App Store. The bill would allow for “sideloading” apps onto phones and would ban app stores from forcing app developers to use their in-house payment systems.

With a debate scheduled soon, the big tech companies are going on the offensive.

Google’s President of Global Affairs & Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker published a blog post titled “the harmful consequences of Congress’s anti-tech bills” on Tuesday where he said the bills would be “handicapping America’s technology leaders.” He said Google was “deeply concerned” about “unintended consequences” from the bills.

“Congress shouldn’t rush to judgment, and should instead take more time to consider the unintended consequences of these bills,” Walker wrote.

Apple sent a letter to members of Congress, which was published by 9to5Mac, saying the two bills would cause “real harm” to “American consumers’ privacy and security.” The company argued that the bills allowing for users to “sideload” apps onto their phones—installing apps without going through an app store—could cause “millions of Americans” to suffer “malware attacks on their phones that otherwise would have been stopped.”

While Google and Apple have pushed back against the bills, other technology companies are urging Congress to pass the bills. A group of 35 companies including DuckDuckGo, Proton Technologies, the Tor Project, Sonos, and Yelp wrote an open letter where they said the American Innovation and Choice Online Act “targets self-preferencing to help restore competition in the digital marketplace and remove barriers for consumers to choose the services they want.”

“Dominant technologies companies’ ability to give their own products and services preferential placement, access, and data on online platforms and operating systems prevents companies like us from competing on the merits,” the companies wrote in the letter, later adding: “For too long, dominant technology companies have made it difficult for other businesses to compete in the digital marketplace by abusing their gatekeeper status to give themselves and their partners’ preferential treatment and access on their platforms.”

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*First Published: Jan 19, 2022, 1:18 pm CST