Congress antitrust package

Tell me this isn’t going to happen.

I don’t see any problem with this. But I think Representative Cicilline and each member of the House should be required to set up a new phone and download their apps live on CSPAN prior to voting YES on this bill. :grinning:


No big deal. If it a new replacement device, the old apps are migrated. New customers will just go to the App Store (question – how do you load an App Store if there are no preinstalled apps??) and click on the new Install Apple Apps button. This is no different than the nonsense Microsoft faced with Internet Explorer preinstalls was it 20 years or so ago? It’s just an annoyance and everyone goes ahead and installs the formerly standard software because it’s what they want.


They should do the same for Tesla cars and every other device that has a computer.

Which kind of ties in to the “right to repair” movement.

(Acknowledging my slippery slope argument.)


This can’t end well.

1 Like

Lots of politicians are certainly seeing extra lobby $ after proposing new regulations! It’s almost as if that were the whole point…


What else? Politicians (at least in this country) have two goals: 1) Make friends with lobbyists (=$$$) 2) Get re-elected.

This is just one small piece of the new antitrust agenda in the government. Congress currently has at least 5 antitrust and anti monopoly bills pending, most with bipartisan support. In addition, just yesterday, the President nominated Lena Khan as chair of the Federal Trade Commission. Khan is a staunch critic of monopoly power, and it is likely she will be confirmed by the Senate. So on the one hand, we have Congress developing legislation to address big tech monopoly power, and on the other, we have an FTC chair who will likely use those new laws to aggressively address big tech monopolies.

There are already a flurry of lawsuits against monopolistic practices by big tech filed by the DoJ in partnership with various states AGs and the FTC. With new legislation and a new FTC chair, my guess is that the next 2 years will not be good for big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, etc.

1 Like

I think a lot of this is justified. We’ve railed here about Facebook and Google and, to a lesser extent, Amazon. It’s inevitable that Apple, with their trillion dollars, would get pulled in and, let’s face it, their grip on the App Store is at least suspect. The times, they are a-changin’. It’s startling, at least to me, that it’s so bipartisan.


Yeah. My concern with government regulation is, as always, the fact that a large number of the people voting on such regulation probably couldn’t download an app from the App Store, let alone understand the broader issues potentially caused by (let’s say) coming up with a blind regulation that “companies can’t pre-install any apps”.

As mentioned above, “App Store” is an app. I mean, technically, “Settings” is an app. So now you have a kind of regulation that’s “no apps, except these carved-out exceptions”. And every time you get that “except for these carved-out exceptions”, now you have a prime spot for companies to aggressively lobby “future Congress” for exemptions. An exemption of the sort “except for apps provided by a smartphone carrier”, for example - intended for QoS type apps or a carrier’s specific app, but likely ultimately used to back-door games and other bloatware provided by companies that pay off the carriers.

I’m not against some regulation. I just really, really hope they take the time to get input from some people who are smart about how the tech stuff works, and actually listen to what they say when crafting these bills.

The problem is, a lot of bills aren’t even drafted by the legislators. They’re drafted by outside “think tanks”, pushed to the legislators under the assumption that they’ve been well-thought-out, and…well…we know what happens when we assume. :slight_smile:

Hopefully they fix the system in a way that doesn’t just cause a different broken system for the future.

1 Like

I’m sure they will have to work out the issues like you mention (what defines an “app”…is it Settings?).

However, I don’t think we should simply dismiss this as something being done by people who probably don’t know how to use their phones. What’s actually happening, in my opinion, are the professional staff from the subcommittees writing the bills, getting them scored, etc. It is the staffers who are feeding the Representatives and Senators questions, ideas, language, etc…and they are SMART. In my experience, at least dealing with PSMs in the defense industry, the staffers are extremely intelligent and have the necessary background to inform our elected leaders in the US.

1 Like

Yes, in Apple’s case they probably took it too far when they required a cut of all in app purchases. And then not even allow developers to tell users they could make purchases on their website, etc.

They will be lucky if they can avoid 3rd party app stores and/or side loading.

1 Like

It’s common knowledge that Washington politicians spend as much time raising money as they spend doing their jobs, sometimes more. Their political parties frequently set daily $ goals for fund raising.


Except that in this situation, it’s not the tech companies donating to politicians. Quite the opposite. Big Tech doesn’t support this at all, and their trade organization, NetChoice, has already denounced the pending bills and Lena Khan as FTC chair.

Right. This feels like CYA type stuff so next time they run for re-election they can say “look how tough I was on the big tech companies!” Of course they’ll say that regardless of what the bills actually say, whether or not they actually make a difference, and whether or not they actually voted for it.

Congress is one of the few places where logic doesn’t seem to apply.

You: “Hey Congress, can I have $10?”
Congress: “We’ll talk about it.”
(Bill is proposed, whittled down to $5 instead of $10, gets voted on)
Side that voted for the $5: “We got you $5. Look at how great we are!”
Side that voted against the $5: “We voted against giving you $5, because you deserve $10. And we won’t compromise. Look how great we are!”


In fact, if history is any indication they could always pull a “by (some ridiculous time in the future - 2025, maybe?) all tech companies will have to abide by (some minor restriction).” That way they get the credit now, the tech companies aren’t as mad at them right now, and there’s time to walk back the restriction if they want.

Sure, Congress is really good at listening, right? /s


Which is why they are targeted. Now they have to spend more to Congress.

1 Like

Here’s a tangent: it’s weird how national decisions influence these global companies.

I don’t have an alternative for our current geopolitical setup, obviously. But EU and US decision-making ends up determining so much of how tech is governed, and if you’re not a citizen of those regions, you have no representation. It’s kinda awful—and so messy.


Big Tech started meddling into elections so a reaction was inevitable. Their power is just too great and it is concentrated in the hands of a few billionaires. Antitrust is the easiest way to go after them.

Meddling in which election?

1 Like