NYT: ‘Tech Giants, Fearful of Proposals to Curb Them, Blitz Washington With Lobbying’

Cecilia Kang, David McCabe, and Kenneth P. Vogel, reporting for The New York Times:

WASHINGTON — In the days after lawmakers introduced legislation that could break the dominance of tech companies, Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, called Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other members of Congress to deliver a warning.

The antitrust bills were rushed, he said. They would crimp innovation. And they would hurt consumers by disrupting the services that power Apple’s lucrative iPhone, Mr. Cook cautioned at various points, according to five people with knowledge of the conversations. […]

Ms. Pelosi pushed back on Mr. Cook’s concerns about the bills, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations. When Mr. Cook asked for a delay in the Judiciary Committee’s process of considering the bills, Ms. Pelosi pushed him to identify specific policy objections to the measures, said one of the people.

You don’t have to read the dateline to know which side this leaked from.

At the end of the article:

Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington and a co-sponsor of the bills, said the lobbying is “making our case that they have way too much power in terms of monopoly power and in terms of money and politics.”

“Small business and consumers have no hope of competing with this amount of money and power,” she said.

The fact that the companies are pushing back, and making their cases against the legislative proposals, is proof that they’re doing wrong? Maybe Jayapal’s quotes here are taken out of context, but if not, this is absurd. I mean of course a “small business” isn’t going to be able to compete against companies with trillion dollar market caps. And the core of the argument — from all of these companies, but Apple in particular — is that consumers aren’t being harmed at all by the status quo, and in fact would suffer if the legislation (particularly Jayapal’s bill) is passed.

Also, the Times’s capitalization of “Big Tech”:

Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen groups paid by Big Tech have tried to head off bipartisan support for six bills meant to undo the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

is embarrassing. They’re not a cabal. They’re in fact intense competitors — most of their relations are hostile (Apple-Facebook), and at best are frosty (Apple-Amazon).

Wednesday, 23 June 2021