U.S. lawmakers consider bill that would block Apple from pre-installing its apps on the iPhone

Know all of those pre-installed iOS apps that come with a newly purchased Apple iPhone? If Congress gets its way, they will be banned under antitrust reform legislation introduced last week. This is the word from Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) according to Bloomberg.
The Representative has been one of the members of the House looking to punish several big name tech firms for alleged anticompetitive behavior including Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. One of the proposals of the aforementioned legislation would prevent tech platforms from placing their own products above those of competitors. And Cicilline says that this would prevent Apple from pre-installing its own iOS apps on the iPhone.
Cicilline noted that “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 bill would also prevent tech firms from acquiring their rivals. Filing fees for transactions over $1 billion would rise while such fees for deals under $500,000 would decrease. In its first year, this change could help raise $135 million for antitrust enforcement agencies.

Cicilline is the chairman of the House antitrust subcommittee and said that the ban against a company favoring its own products would also apply to Amazon’s Prime subscription platform since it favors Amazon’s products over those of the competition. The bills could also force tech companies to exit some businesses. The five bills will be marked up by the House Judiciary Committee next week said committee chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York.

This has been a major issue that lawmakers have been battling with tech firms over, especially Google. The latter has been known to favor its own products in search results over those of the competition. And an email thread between Apple app search lead Debankur Naskar and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney indicated that Apple was manipulating the results of App Store searches.

Last week, Rep. Cicilline said, “Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”

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