Apple CEO Tim Cook lobbied U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) for 40 minutes on Wednesday about antitrust legislation to be debated the next day.
The lengthy phone call from Apple’s CEO directly to a U.S. Senator on the key Senate committee considering changes to antitrust law shows just how important the company considers the specifics of the planned reforms.
The American Innovation and Online Choice Act is intended to prevent dominant tech platforms from favoring their own products over others. The Senate Judiciary Committee, on which Cruz serves, voted 16-6 on a bipartisan basis to advance the bill to the full Senate on Thursday.
If passed as written, one legal reform would require Apple to permit sideloading, or the ability for users to install apps without going through Apple’s App Store, allowing app makers to avoid the App Store’s 15% to 30% fees…
Cruz said that Cook expressed concern that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act could prevent Apple from improving its products by preventing the company from implementing privacy and security features. “I spent about 40 minutes on the phone [Wednesday] with Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, who expressed significant concerns about the bill,” the senator said.
“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.
An Apple representative declined to comment on Cook’s call with Cruz, but the senator’s account of Cook’s concerns is similar to a letter Apple sent to the Senate committee earlier this week, in which the company said that if iPhone users and consumers were allowed to install software directly from the internet, it could lead to a wave of malware.
MacDailyNews Take: Cook’s entreaty didn’t seem to work as Cruz was among five Republicans who voted with the Democrats to advance the bill out of the committee.
Regardless, The Cowen Washington Research Group said that despite the committee’s 16-6 vote to approve the measure, enough of its supporters expressed reservations that it had less than a 50% chance of becoming law.
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