Draft antitrust bill would stop Apple from privileging its apps on the App Store

From CNBC’s “Democrats circulate draft antitrust bills that could reshape Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google” posted Wednesday evening:

A group of House Democrats is circulating discussion drafts of antitrust bills that would force the biggest tech companies to change parts of their business models and curtail large acquisitions, according to copies obtained by CNBC.

While the drafts could still change significantly prior to their introduction, as currently written, they could require business model overhauls for Apple and Amazon by limiting their ability to operate marketplaces for products and apps while selling their own goods and apps on those same stores…

    • Platform Anti-Monopoly Act: This bill, proposed by Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I., would prohibit dominant platforms from giving their own products and services advantages over those of competitors on the platform. It would also prohibit other types of discriminatory behavior by dominant platforms, like cutting off a competitor that uses the platform from services offered by the platform itself, and ban dominant platforms from using data collected on their services that isn’t public to others to fuel their own competing products, among several other prohibitions.

My take: As predicted.

See Apple 3.0’s David Cicilline archives

10 Comments

  1. David Emery said:
    “like cutting off a competitor that uses the platform from services offered by the platform itself, ” Let’s call this the “Epic Clause”. This goes too far in my view, as it can be used to override contract provisions.

    The other two mentioned provisions, ‘no favored position’ and ‘no use of data for competing products’, seem to be reasonable to me.

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    June 10, 2021
    • Steven Noyes said:
      My thoughts exactly. This looks like a good starting point. Personally, I think it is ludicrous to expect people to “ride the train for free” and not have to pay for a ticket.

      The no favored status and data collection seems very reasonable.

      Note: I disagree with the train analogy but this is what Epic is trying to accomplish.

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      June 10, 2021
  2. Michael Goldfeder said:
    While Cicilline drafts a document that looks good in theory or in a junior college business course, applying this “standard” to the real world is going to be like herding cats and teaching them to sing opera.

    He’s the USA’s version of Margrethe Vestager. Another bowling ball politician masquerading as a razor blade.

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    June 10, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I explicitly reject the comparison with Vestager. Cicilline’s bill is a draft, that gets subject to review and then a vote of Congress. For better or worse, that’s a process that is both Constitutional and that allows for some level of review and debate. I’m sure there’ll be intense lobbying and then substantial debate on this proposal.

      Vestager, on the other hand, just pulls policies from her body and then tries to enforce them, acting as both legislature and executive. Thankfully the EU has at least some notion of independent judiciary.

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      June 10, 2021
      • Rodney Avilla said:
        “I explicitly reject the comparison with Vestager.”
        I believe he was more comparing the person, not the process. The point being, both persons have similar views regarding monopolies and antitrust issues. Luckily, for us in the US, the processes are much different, as you pointed out, in how they carry out their proposals.

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        June 10, 2021
  3. Jerry Doyle said:
    Parts of the proposed legislation, such as the Ending Platform Monopolies Act proposed by Representative Pramila Jayapal D-WA, seem targeted to have a deleterious effect on Apple’s existing & planned services such as the recently introduced FaceTime. Little doubt Zoom soon will become the new Epic kid-on-the-block screaming “foul play.” The proposed Platform Anti-Monopoly Act by Chairman David Cicilline, D-R.I. bans dominant platforms from using data collected on their services that isn’t public to other competitors to fuel their own competing products.

    These are discussion drafts. There is lots of messy legislative sausage making that must go on before the final product is delivered.

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    June 10, 2021
  4. Gregg Thurman said:
    Sounds like they are trying to ban MSFT practices of the late ‘80s and ‘90s.

    Back then a startup’s exit plan was to be bought by MSFT.

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    June 10, 2021
  5. Adam Foster said:
    Every store has always had their own store brand that competes with other brands ie: Costco with it’s Kirkland brand, Giant Foods Giant Band, ect.
    Politicians wasting time grandstandng instead of doing what needs to be done in our country.

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    June 10, 2021
  6. It’s a cash pile, most legislators are lawyers, they only pursue cases against defendants with the means to pay. Their concerted efforts, almost choreographed, include the ‘leaked’ IRS data of the wealthiest & lifestyle exposés. CEOs take annual salaries of $1 or some small amount when stock options & deferred compensation looks reliable. No timesheets, little salary and therefore little in Fed taxes paid. It’s not a new tale of greed. Not even illegal. Where were these leakers back when so many clamored for the last CiC’s 1040?

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    June 10, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I posted a long screed on the Slack page in reaction to the tax leak. But one point to repeat here: It took a Constitutional Amendment (16th) to institute an Income Tax. The Constitutional Law on what is ‘income’ is pretty clear. Anyone who proposes a “wealth tax” has a HUGE Constitutional burden, but you won’t hear that from the advocates.

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      June 10, 2021

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