Evercore: Antitrust bill advanced as a courtesy to Sen. Klobuchar

“There is a scenario where Apple is pressured to lower App Store fees, though the bill remains a long way from being enacted.”

From a note to clients by analyst Amit Daryanani that landed on my desktop Friday:

The House and Senate bills are designed to prohibit some tech companies from self-preferencing, which if passed, has significant implications for the App Store and would likely make it more difficult for AAPL to run iOS as it is currently being run. The bill would also affect other large technology companies like GOOG. According to Punchbowl News, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai were in contact with Senators lobbying against the legislation…

Should the American Innovation and Choice Online Act eventually make it through the House and Senate, there is a scenario where Apple is pressured to lower App Store fees, though the bill remains a long way from being enacted

Relay from Tobin Marcus, EVRISI Senior US Policy and Politics Strategist, on the bill: “I think this’ll be a big topic of discussion through Q1 and has a chance of getting done, but it still looks fairly unlikely. The 16-6 committee vote overstates the level of support for the bill. Some Democrats, including the 2 Senators from California, voted the bill out of committee in part as a courtesy to Klobuchar despite expressing significant reservations, and several other Democrats have concerns and changes they want to make. Some of the Republican support looks soft as well, and getting Senate floor time for this bill before Congress largely shuts down for the midterms will be harder than some commentators appreciate.”

My take: Like watching sausage getting made.

12 Comments

  1. Michael Goldfeder said:
    The real twist of irony here is that all of these senators combined couldn’t add, delete, or do anything by themselves on the App Store without a committee of congressional aides. If they could even find it in the first place? Watching them trying to figure out how to download a concert ticket onto their iPhone wallet would be a reality series that Netflix would pay bazillions to show their dwindling subscribers.

    Yet these bastions of governmental ignorance want Apple to sell all iPhones with nothing preloaded? Any consumer can delete any App that comes with an iPhone. These proposed bills are about as likely to get as much traction as a curling stone covered in grease (Axel, Chicken, Bacon, take your pick? Or add to the list.)

    As for voting these bills out of committee as a courtesy to Klobuchar, perhaps the American consumer would be better served if these Senators would have just tossed this nonsense into the nearest round file. That sends a more direct and impactful message.

    10
    January 21, 2022
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Michael: In my view this legislation is not very well written. I’m wondering what the influences were on those that crafted the legislation and why it wasn’t vetted thoroughly before being assigned to the committee or effectively reviewed by the committee’s staff. I don’t see much chance of this legislation being approved without major modifications and then there’s the issue of significant and substantial differences between the Senate and House versions that may need to go to a conference committee. This may greatly reduce the chance of a final bill receiving approval by both chambers anytime soon. Even those committee members that have serious reservations or concerns voted it out of committee, according to the referenced story in this blog post, as a favor to a senator. Their concerns will need to be addressed as it moves to the senate floor.

      0
      January 21, 2022
  2. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    As I’ve said before, I think it’s sloppy legislation. There are too many unanswered questions, too much ambiguity and if senators are pushing out the legislation as a favor to a particular senator versus working out the challenges in committee, it goes from bad to worse. There are some important issues to address through legislation. However, I don’t think this bill, as currently written, is the best approach. Because the committee chose not to address the flaws in the bill, the odds of passage are diminished.

    3
    January 21, 2022
  3. Steven Philips said:
    My take: I’d like to see sausage made of a few senators and housers! But the FDA would probably recall it as dangerous to your health.

    1
    January 21, 2022
  4. Jerry Doyle said:
    The legislative process in the U.S. Congress is little different than the Executive Branch process in setting an agency up for failure in the monitoring and enforcement of laws, rules and agency policies. In the latter the Executive Branch emasculates the federal agency in the reduction of staffs, requisite funding and needed resources from doing its job. In the first, the amendment exchange process so dilutes the integrity of the bill’s initial concept that the original sponsor often is left with the palatable satisfaction of convincing constituencies that the expended efforts and outcome is true and real in addressing the problem. In actuality, little has been done.

    Apple and big tech will be just fine because in this particular legislative process, it all is and has been for public show.

    5
    January 21, 2022
  5. Fred Stein said:
    And then there’s the legal challenges. Based on my friends comments above about the sloppiness of the work, it seems unlikely that the outcome will survive the long court cases and appeal process.

    It’s a naive attempt to solve to a non-problem. As Joseph reminds us, Meta does cause harm.

    2
    January 22, 2022
  6. Lalit Jagtap said:
    I am appalled and shocked to see what motivates some of these elected senators, to do such a sloppy work. Huge waste of tax payers money. Instead of questioning and figuring out how technology like “contact tracing” is still not supported to help all citizens of this country. In 2022, these senators still don’t understood what team Apple with App Store has contributed to our country and the world. Does these members don’t have any idea why privacy and security of individual’s data is most important?

    4
    January 22, 2022
  7. Thomas Larkin said:
    Follow the money funding this poorly contrived $hit $how?

    0
    January 23, 2022

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