Apple boss Tim Cook phoned Nancy Pelosi urging her to think twice about antitrust laws, report claims

Tech officials warned that consumer services might be interrupted if antitrust laws are enacted

Graig Graziosi
Wednesday 23 June 2021 21:43
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<p>Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking remotely at the VivaTech 2021 conference in Paris on 16 June, 2021 </p>

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking remotely at the VivaTech 2021 conference in Paris on 16 June, 2021

Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, reportedly called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to warn her away from "rushed" antitrust bills moving through the House.

The New York Times reported that Mr Cook called Ms Pelosi and other members of Congress to warn them that the antitrust bills were being "rushed" and that they might hurt innovation and consumers by disrupting Apple's services.

Sources speaking with The Times said the CEO asked Ms Pelosi to delay the bills. She reportedly pushed back against Mr Cook and asked him to cite specific policies that would cause service or innovation disruptions.

Mr Cook is not the only one to try to dissuade Ms Pelosi away from supporting the antitrust legislation; members of her own party have expressed opposition to the regulatory measures. Those opponents have reportedly said that antitrust laws could damage the US economy.

The Daily Mail obtained a letter from Timothy Powderly, the Senior Director of Government Affairs, America at Apple, in which he told the House Judiciary Committe that several provisions in circulation would create a "race to the bottom" for security and privacy. and that they would be "undermining innovation and competition".

"Apple is concerned that current proposals would harm consumer privacy, device security, and innovation," he wrote.

The letter is one part of a network of lobbyists and think tanks funded by tech companies who have been pressuring Congressional lawmakers to reconsider antitrust legislation.

The bills have been popular across both political parties, which includes proponents at separate ends of the political spectrum like progressive Democratic Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal and Trump-imitating conservative Congressman Matt Gaetz.

While the bills have found support among populist lawmakers from either side of the political aisle, politicians from the corporations-to-Congress revolving door end of the spectrum have advised against antitrust legislation.

"The scope and impact of these bills could have a tremendous impact on the products and services many American consumers currently enjoy and the competitiveness of our innovation economy," the members of the New Democrat Coalition, which includes Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, a former Microsoft executive.

Amazon also weighed in on the legislation through its Public Policy account on Twitter.

"We believe they would have 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," the statement said.

Google's vice president of Government Affairs and Public Policy, Mark Isakowitz, also voiced caution concerning the legislation, claiming "American consumers and small businesses would be shocked at how these bills would break many of their favorite services."

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