On Wednesday, members of Congress are scheduled to hold a hearing of six regulatory bills that will drastically impact the dominance of big tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. As per the New York Times report, the tech giants are not giving up their power without a fight. To dissuade the legislators, Apple along with other tech giants have intensified lobbying efforts to convince lawmakers of the “dire consequences” the new laws entail and eventually to put them down.
Introduced in April, the new bills are part of the antitrust investigations launched by U.S legislators in 2020 which aim to root out anti-competitive practices and to maintain a healthy tech industry. Last year, lawmakers accused Facebook and Apple of an “acquire and kill strategy” to eliminate competition. Therefore, the new law will empower the regulator and make it more difficult for big tech companies to acquire smaller companies.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon lobbyist, and other senior executives reach out to lawmakers ahead of the antitrust bill hearing
In addition to sending emails, making calls, and hiring lobbyists, the senior executives of the tech companies are personally involved in communicating the impact of the upcoming bills on the tech industry. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is said to have called on Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress to “deliver a warning.” People with knowledge of the matter told the publishers:
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.
Amazon’s lobbyist, Brian Huseman gave a statement warning the legislators of the “significant negative effects on the hundreds of thousands of American small- and medium-sized businesses that sell in our store and tens of millions of consumers who buy products from Amazon.”
Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president for global affairs, has also reportedly made calls to lawmakers and the company’s lobbyist said that “American consumers and small businesses would be shocked at how these bills would break many of their favorite services.”
Furthermore, Facebook’s spokesperson said that the new laws “should promote competition and protect consumers, not punish successful American companies.”
Members of Congress supporting the bills are keen on limiting the market dominance of tech giants. Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington and a co-sponsor of the bills, said:
The lobbying is “making our case that they have way too much power in terms of monopoly power and in terms of money and politics. Small business and consumers have no hope of competing with this amount of money and power.”
Adam Kovacevich, a critic at the Chamber of Progress, said:
“Tech had a very long political honeymoon. Many politicians and policymakers think that maybe they were too easy on tech for a long time, and now there is a countervailing desire to punish tech through either new laws or through regulatory action. And that is at odds with what consumers want.”
Not only in the United States, but Apple is also facing antitrust cases around the world; EU, Germany, Russia, Japan, and others. Regulators are probing the company for its control over App Store for apps distribution, in-app purchases, and review/approval policies. The accusations claim that the Cupertino tech giant has created a monopoly that is anti-competitive.