Congress will vote on new antitrust reform legislation introduced last week by Democratic Representative David Cicilline that would prevent Apple from pre-installing its own apps.
Bloomberg reports that “a proposal prohibiting tech platforms from giving an advantage to their own products over those of competitor would mean Apple can’t swipe devices with pre-installed apps on its iOS operating platform.”
“It would be equally easy to download the other five apps as the Apple one so they’re not using their market dominance to favor their own products and services,” the Rhode Island Democrat said.
In addition to Apple, the self-preferences prohibition would also apply to others, such as Amazon, whose Prime subscription service allegedly “disadvantages some sellers who rely on the e-commerce platform.”
This antitrust package proposal is part of a bipartisan bill to regulate big tech companies. According to Bloomberg, the House Judiciary Committee will mark up five bills in a hearing next week.
The antitrust package is just the latest salvo at Apple and other tech giants. The Arizona House of Representatives attempted in March to pass a bill that would have allowed developers in the state to bypass an app store’s payment system, allowing developers to avoid paying Apple and Google a cut of the action for in-app payments. The bill was withdrawn following intensive lobbying by Apple and Google.
In Europe, the UK’s competition authority this week announced an official investigation into the mobile device ecosystem which will target Apple and Google’s alleged duopoly.
“Apple and Google control the major gateways through which people download apps or browse the web on their mobiles – whether they want to shop, play games, stream music or watch TV. We’re looking into whether this could be creating problems for consumers and the businesses that want to reach people through their phones.