A new bill will try to stop big tech from preferring its own services over rivals

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2021
The US Senate is taking another shot at limitations of big tech power, this time focusing on companies preferring and featuring its own services over those of competitors.




The legislation, said to debut on Thursday, is intended to cut back the power of big tech companies, and rein in what the US Government believes is anti-trust activity. For example, it would prevent Apple from putting an ad for Apple Music on App Store search results for competitors like Tidal or Spotify.

More widely, it would prevent Google from putting its own services at the top of a search query. Other self-preferencing behaviors like misuse of a company's data to compete against it, and unfairly preventing a product from working on a dominant platform are said to be included.

The bill appears to be a modification of a similar one passed by the House Judiciary Committee called the American Choice and Innovation Online Act. The Wall Street Journal says that the bill proposed on Thursday would be "somewhat tougher," but doesn't discuss how or why.

Apple has said that the House version of the bill would allow users to sideload apps without restrictions, or going through the App Store. It has always been against allowing this outside of enterprise certificates, and enumerated the reasons why with a report it published on Wednesday.

The American Choice and Innovation Online Act advanced despite lobbying efforts from Google and Apple, which included CEO Tim Cook reportedly calling Speaker Nancy Pelosi directly. But, after that initial approval, debate over the House's bill has stalled.

The House bill was also nebulous in defining what qualifies as a dominant platform, or how it would be enforced. It's not clear at present if the definitions and enforcement vectors are equally nebulous in the new bill.

The Senate bill is being sponsored by Amy Klobuchar (D - MN) and Chuck Grassley (R - IA). It is backed by Richard Durbin (D - IL) and Lindsey Graham (R - SC).

Many of the same senators are behind the Open App Markets Act, which is trying to put restrictions on App Store behaviors. Specifically, that bill would prohibit app stores from requiring developers to use their payment systems, for example. It would also bar app stores from punishing apps that offer different pricing structures through another online payment system or platform.

Read on AppleInsider
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    A new bill will try to stop big restaurants from preferring its own food over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big religion from preferring its own God over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big governments from preferring its own laws over rivals...
    beowulfschmidtrob53Sunny1buttesilverbluefire1RudolfGottfriedviclauyycFileMakerFellerleavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    Are they going to make Walmart take down all the ads for their own services in their own stores?

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is a thing.
    ITGUYINSDrob53fred1buttesilverbluefire1FileMakerFellerleavingthebiggwatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 22
    They should then also make those senators have part of their reelection ads offered to their opponents to make things fair. 
    rob53fred1the1maximusSunny1buttesilverbluefire1FileMakerFellerleavingthebigg
  • Reply 4 of 22
    Are they going to make Walmart take down all the ads for their own services in their own stores?

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is a thing.
    Depends.  Do people go into Walmart looking for non-Walmart services?  That's what this bill addresses. 
    darkvader
  • Reply 5 of 22
    johnnyho said:
    A new bill will try to stop big restaurants from preferring its own food over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big religion from preferring its own God over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big governments from preferring its own laws over rivals...
    Again, do people go into Denny's looking for pancakes from IHOP?  When you're in Apple's App Store and you're looking for Spotify app, Apple Music shouldn't be the 1st search result, especially when Apple's App Store is the ONLY place to get Spotify.
    edited October 2021 muthuk_vanalingamrcfagatorguyStrangeDaysdarkvader
  • Reply 6 of 22
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,103member
    This is complicated by the fact that analogies don’t always take into account the unique aspects of the situation. Apple agreed to allow third-party apps because they believed (correctly) that it would improve the user experience, thereby improving the value of the product (which of course is beneficial to company’s sales prospects). In the same way, a restaurant might sell their own desserts alongside pies made by a famous local bakery. Should the restaurant be allowed to more heavily promote their own desserts, with more prominent positioning in the menu, or more favorable pricing? True, the only way to enjoy that pie in that particular setting is to order it off of the menu and pay whatever they’re asking, but it’s not true that it’s the only way to have the pie. Similarly, you can enjoy Spotify without the Apple App Store, you just can’t use it natively within iOS. There are lots of other ways to stream Spotify. If you make an app that can only be used as a native iOS app, you are relying heavily on Apple for their infrastructure, marketing, charge processing, etc., and it makes sense that you would relinquish a certain degree of control, as you would is you were making food that would be sold exclusively in one restaurant chain. 
  • Reply 7 of 22
    Bosa said:
    How dumb is the Biden us government? They bombed 7 kids getting water and lied to us and said they were ISIS 

    and now they want to fix something that doesn’t need fixing and people like Google and Apple who are 10000 times smarter than these idiot politicians?

    so are they going to ask Target to stop advertising their stores and have people buy at Walmart?
    Clearly, you've not a clue what this is about.  
    rcfagatorguybeowulfschmidtStrangeDaysdarkvader
  • Reply 8 of 22
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,234member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Are they going to make Walmart take down all the ads for their own services in their own stores?

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is a thing.
    Depends.  Do people go into Walmart looking for non-Walmart services?  That's what this bill addresses. 
    All the time. Walmart sells things, they don't actually make any products. They do sell branded items like Total Wireless. Do they also allow Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile? If they do do they put Total Wireless at the top of the advertising list? In some communities, Walmart is the only store in town so they are looking for everything.
    kingofsomewherehotleavingthebigg
  • Reply 9 of 22
    This is complicated by the fact that analogies don’t always take into account the unique aspects of the situation. Apple agreed to allow third-party apps because they believed (correctly) that it would improve the user experience, thereby improving the value of the product (which of course is beneficial to company’s sales prospects). In the same way, a restaurant might sell their own desserts alongside pies made by a famous local bakery. Should the restaurant be allowed to more heavily promote their own desserts, with more prominent positioning in the menu, or more favorable pricing? True, the only way to enjoy that pie in that particular setting is to order it off of the menu and pay whatever they’re asking, but it’s not true that it’s the only way to have the pie. Similarly, you can enjoy Spotify without the Apple App Store, you just can’t use it natively within iOS. There are lots of other ways to stream Spotify. If you make an app that can only be used as a native iOS app, you are relying heavily on Apple for their infrastructure, marketing, charge processing, etc., and it makes sense that you would relinquish a certain degree of control, as you would is you were making food that would be sold exclusively in one restaurant chain. 
    I agree with most of what you said, except in your example, if you made specialty pies and (for whatever reason) only sold them through one restaurant chain (exclusivity maybe?), and that chain puts their own baked pies at the top of the dessert menu and your pies mixed in with other desserts lower in the menu, wouldn't you find that just a bit unfair?  

    It's true that there are other ways to stream Spotify, but 100% of the people looking for Spotify in the App Store are using iOS and are not interested in other ways, so it's not a matter of choice for those people who are being fed Apple Music as the top pick when they want Spotify.
    darkvader
  • Reply 10 of 22
    rob53 said:
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Are they going to make Walmart take down all the ads for their own services in their own stores?

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is a thing.
    Depends.  Do people go into Walmart looking for non-Walmart services?  That's what this bill addresses. 
    All the time. Walmart sells things, they don't actually make any products. They do sell branded items like Total Wireless. Do they also allow Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile? If they do do they put Total Wireless at the top of the advertising list? In some communities, Walmart is the only store in town so they are looking for everything.
    Have you tried it?  I did.  I searched "Verizon phones" and Total Wireless did not come up.  I searched "AT&T phones" and Total Wireless did not come up.  I searched "T-Mobile phones" and guess what?  T-Mobile phones came up.  When you search a particular brand, that brand comes up first, not Walmart's brand.  Similarly, when I search Spotify on App Store, should Apple Music come up first?  That's what the article is about.
    rcfadarkvader
  • Reply 11 of 22
    retrogustoretrogusto Posts: 1,103member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    This is complicated by the fact that analogies don’t always take into account the unique aspects of the situation. Apple agreed to allow third-party apps because they believed (correctly) that it would improve the user experience, thereby improving the value of the product (which of course is beneficial to company’s sales prospects). In the same way, a restaurant might sell their own desserts alongside pies made by a famous local bakery. Should the restaurant be allowed to more heavily promote their own desserts, with more prominent positioning in the menu, or more favorable pricing? True, the only way to enjoy that pie in that particular setting is to order it off of the menu and pay whatever they’re asking, but it’s not true that it’s the only way to have the pie. Similarly, you can enjoy Spotify without the Apple App Store, you just can’t use it natively within iOS. There are lots of other ways to stream Spotify. If you make an app that can only be used as a native iOS app, you are relying heavily on Apple for their infrastructure, marketing, charge processing, etc., and it makes sense that you would relinquish a certain degree of control, as you would is you were making food that would be sold exclusively in one restaurant chain. 
    I agree with most of what you said, except in your example, if you made specialty pies and (for whatever reason) only sold them through one restaurant chain (exclusivity maybe?), and that chain puts their own baked pies at the top of the dessert menu and your pies mixed in with other desserts lower in the menu, wouldn't you find that just a bit unfair?  

    It's true that there are other ways to stream Spotify, but 100% of the people looking for Spotify in the App Store are using iOS and are not interested in other ways, so it's not a matter of choice for those people who are being fed Apple Music as the top pick when they want Spotify.
    I need a little clarification, or maybe I should clarify. In the case of the bakery, I meant a bakery that sold through multiple channels, as Spotify does. Anybody with a computer and an Internet connection can access Spotify, but if you want to specifically access it within iOS (which is owned exclusively by Apple and licensed to people who buy Apple hardware) you have to do it via the App Store. And yes, some people might go to that restaurant just to buy that pie, because they like the combined experience of that pie in that setting, but in that case they pay whatever the restaurant is asking, or they go elsewhere. The second example, that of someone making food exclusively for one restaurant chain, is trickier to compare, because in that situation the restaurant would normally buy the food directly from the producer. A better analogy in this case might be a store that sells third-party competitors’ goods on consignment alongside their own products, but I can’t think of comparable example of this, because in most cases it wouldn’t make any sense at all for the store to offer easy access to a competitor’s wares. And banning the competitors completely has always been an acceptable business practice. Also, a restaurant is allowed to ban you from bringing in food from other restaurants. In some countries, you might pay service or cover charges on top of the menu item charges, which in theory cover the expense of you sitting in their chair, etc., but you still can’t bring food from outside. 
  • Reply 12 of 22
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 585member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    Are they going to make Walmart take down all the ads for their own services in their own stores?

    The Law of Unintended Consequences is a thing.
    Depends.  Do people go into Walmart looking for non-Walmart services?  That's what this bill addresses. 
    When I go into Walmart I expect to see their services and not someone else's. Same for Home Depot, Lowe's, Costco, etc. Furthermore I doubt the government can legally force Apple to write source code to allow for another store. If allowed where would this stop. Will the government force Toyota to rewrite their infotainment system to allow for side loading? They do offer apps, but it is their decision who is on the list. Or maybe force them to write it to be compatible with Android so you can run all those apps. Or allow access to the cars inner workings so the end user can get an app to alter the performance of the vehicle or disable safety devices.

    I do not want the government dictating the features a product should or should not have.
    williamlondon
  • Reply 13 of 22
    rcfarcfa Posts: 1,124member
    High time these laws get passed.
    The current situation limits users’ control over their own devices and leverages dominance in one market into another market, the picture book definition of abuse of monopoly power.
    williamlondondarkvader
  • Reply 14 of 22
    ITGUYINSD said:
    This is complicated by the fact that analogies don’t always take into account the unique aspects of the situation. Apple agreed to allow third-party apps because they believed (correctly) that it would improve the user experience, thereby improving the value of the product (which of course is beneficial to company’s sales prospects). In the same way, a restaurant might sell their own desserts alongside pies made by a famous local bakery. Should the restaurant be allowed to more heavily promote their own desserts, with more prominent positioning in the menu, or more favorable pricing? True, the only way to enjoy that pie in that particular setting is to order it off of the menu and pay whatever they’re asking, but it’s not true that it’s the only way to have the pie. Similarly, you can enjoy Spotify without the Apple App Store, you just can’t use it natively within iOS. There are lots of other ways to stream Spotify. If you make an app that can only be used as a native iOS app, you are relying heavily on Apple for their infrastructure, marketing, charge processing, etc., and it makes sense that you would relinquish a certain degree of control, as you would is you were making food that would be sold exclusively in one restaurant chain. 
    I agree with most of what you said, except in your example, if you made specialty pies and (for whatever reason) only sold them through one restaurant chain (exclusivity maybe?), and that chain puts their own baked pies at the top of the dessert menu and your pies mixed in with other desserts lower in the menu, wouldn't you find that just a bit unfair?  

    It's true that there are other ways to stream Spotify, but 100% of the people looking for Spotify in the App Store are using iOS and are not interested in other ways, so it's not a matter of choice for those people who are being fed Apple Music as the top pick when they want Spotify.
    I need a little clarification, or maybe I should clarify. In the case of the bakery, I meant a bakery that sold through multiple channels, as Spotify does. Anybody with a computer and an Internet connection can access Spotify, but if you want to specifically access it within iOS (which is owned exclusively by Apple and licensed to people who buy Apple hardware) you have to do it via the App Store. And yes, some people might go to that restaurant just to buy that pie, because they like the combined experience of that pie in that setting, but in that case they pay whatever the restaurant is asking, or they go elsewhere. The second example, that of someone making food exclusively for one restaurant chain, is trickier to compare, because in that situation the restaurant would normally buy the food directly from the producer. A better analogy in this case might be a store that sells third-party competitors’ goods on consignment alongside their own products, but I can’t think of comparable example of this, because in most cases it wouldn’t make any sense at all for the store to offer easy access to a competitor’s wares. And banning the competitors completely has always been an acceptable business practice. Also, a restaurant is allowed to ban you from bringing in food from other restaurants. In some countries, you might pay service or cover charges on top of the menu item charges, which in theory cover the expense of you sitting in their chair, etc., but you still can’t bring food from outside. 
    It seems the restaurant analogy is lost on the number of different scenarios that one can create to bolster a specific opinion.   

    Yes, Spotify makes their service available many different ways.  But the focus of this bill is that one is searching for Spotify on Apple, that Apple puts their own app up first and the App Store is the only place to get it.  The fact that there are other places to get Spotify doesn't matter because it's not the same product.  If I'm looking for Spotify for my iPhone, I won't find it on my TV or the Web or Fire Stick.  It's exclusively on the App Store so to be fair, Apple shouldn't prioritize their product when someone is specifically looking for another.  If I search "music services" then that's another story, but it's unfair to Spotify to push Apple Music when I want Spotify.  

    One thing I know for sure, is communism has nothing to do with it.  :)
  • Reply 15 of 22
    ITGUYINSD said:
    ITGUYINSD said:
    This is complicated by the fact that analogies don’t always take into account the unique aspects of the situation. Apple agreed to allow third-party apps because they believed (correctly) that it would improve the user experience, thereby improving the value of the product (which of course is beneficial to company’s sales prospects). In the same way, a restaurant might sell their own desserts alongside pies made by a famous local bakery. Should the restaurant be allowed to more heavily promote their own desserts, with more prominent positioning in the menu, or more favorable pricing? True, the only way to enjoy that pie in that particular setting is to order it off of the menu and pay whatever they’re asking, but it’s not true that it’s the only way to have the pie. Similarly, you can enjoy Spotify without the Apple App Store, you just can’t use it natively within iOS. There are lots of other ways to stream Spotify. If you make an app that can only be used as a native iOS app, you are relying heavily on Apple for their infrastructure, marketing, charge processing, etc., and it makes sense that you would relinquish a certain degree of control, as you would is you were making food that would be sold exclusively in one restaurant chain. 
    I agree with most of what you said, except in your example, if you made specialty pies and (for whatever reason) only sold them through one restaurant chain (exclusivity maybe?), and that chain puts their own baked pies at the top of the dessert menu and your pies mixed in with other desserts lower in the menu, wouldn't you find that just a bit unfair?  

    It's true that there are other ways to stream Spotify, but 100% of the people looking for Spotify in the App Store are using iOS and are not interested in other ways, so it's not a matter of choice for those people who are being fed Apple Music as the top pick when they want Spotify.
    I need a little clarification, or maybe I should clarify. In the case of the bakery, I meant a bakery that sold through multiple channels, as Spotify does. Anybody with a computer and an Internet connection can access Spotify, but if you want to specifically access it within iOS (which is owned exclusively by Apple and licensed to people who buy Apple hardware) you have to do it via the App Store. And yes, some people might go to that restaurant just to buy that pie, because they like the combined experience of that pie in that setting, but in that case they pay whatever the restaurant is asking, or they go elsewhere. The second example, that of someone making food exclusively for one restaurant chain, is trickier to compare, because in that situation the restaurant would normally buy the food directly from the producer. A better analogy in this case might be a store that sells third-party competitors’ goods on consignment alongside their own products, but I can’t think of comparable example of this, because in most cases it wouldn’t make any sense at all for the store to offer easy access to a competitor’s wares. And banning the competitors completely has always been an acceptable business practice. Also, a restaurant is allowed to ban you from bringing in food from other restaurants. In some countries, you might pay service or cover charges on top of the menu item charges, which in theory cover the expense of you sitting in their chair, etc., but you still can’t bring food from outside. 
    It seems the restaurant analogy is lost on the number of different scenarios that one can create to bolster a specific opinion.   

    Yes, Spotify makes their service available many different ways.  But the focus of this bill is that one is searching for Spotify on Apple, that Apple puts their own app up first and the App Store is the only place to get it.  The fact that there are other places to get Spotify doesn't matter because it's not the same product.  If I'm looking for Spotify for my iPhone, I won't find it on my TV or the Web or Fire Stick.  It's exclusively on the App Store so to be fair, Apple shouldn't prioritize their product when someone is specifically looking for another.  If I search "music services" then that's another story, but it's unfair to Spotify to push Apple Music when I want Spotify.  

    One thing I know for sure, is communism has nothing to do with it.  :)
    Someone has to be first in the search (and last) who decides the order and how? I would suggest alphabetical (as per some star listings in movies) but that may result in a rush to register aardvark as a streaming service 😄.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 2,673member
    ITGUYINSD said:
    johnnyho said:
    A new bill will try to stop big restaurants from preferring its own food over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big religion from preferring its own God over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big governments from preferring its own laws over rivals...
    Again, do people go into Denny's looking for pancakes from IHOP?  When you're in Apple's App Store and you're looking for Spotify app, Apple Music shouldn't be the 1st search result, especially when Apple's App Store is the ONLY place to get Spotify.

    Ummm, why the hell not? This has never been an issue before. It has only been an issue when "monopoly" is brought into the discussion as it should. That's why these laws are in place. To protect competition from monopolistic entities. If the App Store was the ONLY place to download Spotify, then it would be a problem. However, Spotify is available in many other places on many other devices.

    Google got in trouble for this exact same thing because google.com was used by 90%+ of the web surfing world for searching the internet. THAT is a monopoly and putting their services over rivals in search results. That is a case of Google abusing a platform that is not theirs; the WWW.

    People using Apple devices might be more interested in Apple apps and services.
    People using Google devices might be more interested in Google's services.
    People on Facebook's website might be more interested in Facebook services.
    Etc.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with making that assumption on your own devices/platform, again, unless it holds a monopoly position in its respective market. And it would be an entirely different thing if Apple's App Store was on other platforms and they did this.
    edited October 2021 FileMakerFeller
  • Reply 17 of 22
    ITGUYINSD said:
    johnnyho said:
    A new bill will try to stop big restaurants from preferring its own food over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big religion from preferring its own God over rivals...
    A new bill will try to stop big governments from preferring its own laws over rivals...
    Again, do people go into Denny's looking for pancakes from IHOP?  When you're in Apple's App Store and you're looking for Spotify app, Apple Music shouldn't be the 1st search result, especially when Apple's App Store is the ONLY place to get Spotify.
    Not sure what you mean.  If I search for Spotify in the App Store, I don't see any Apple products at all, much less Apple Music.

    beowulfschmidtwilliamlondon
  • Reply 18 of 22
    Hmmm, but they think they understand Net neutrality. Like AT&T not counting data against watching HBO (Owned by AT&T) but they do for Netflix. They’re clueless when it comes to tech. 
  • Reply 19 of 22
    JFC_PAJFC_PA Posts: 930member
    Well I hope they heavily attack that Finsta stuff! SO socialist! Run a truck full of chickens right into it. 
  • Reply 20 of 22
    ITGUYINSD said:
    This is complicated by the fact that analogies don’t always take into account the unique aspects of the situation. Apple agreed to allow third-party apps because they believed (correctly) that it would improve the user experience, thereby improving the value of the product (which of course is beneficial to company’s sales prospects). In the same way, a restaurant might sell their own desserts alongside pies made by a famous local bakery. Should the restaurant be allowed to more heavily promote their own desserts, with more prominent positioning in the menu, or more favorable pricing? True, the only way to enjoy that pie in that particular setting is to order it off of the menu and pay whatever they’re asking, but it’s not true that it’s the only way to have the pie. Similarly, you can enjoy Spotify without the Apple App Store, you just can’t use it natively within iOS. There are lots of other ways to stream Spotify. If you make an app that can only be used as a native iOS app, you are relying heavily on Apple for their infrastructure, marketing, charge processing, etc., and it makes sense that you would relinquish a certain degree of control, as you would is you were making food that would be sold exclusively in one restaurant chain. 
    I agree with most of what you said, except in your example, if you made specialty pies and (for whatever reason) only sold them through one restaurant chain (exclusivity maybe?), and that chain puts their own baked pies at the top of the dessert menu and your pies mixed in with other desserts lower in the menu, wouldn't you find that just a bit unfair?  

    It's true that there are other ways to stream Spotify, but 100% of the people looking for Spotify in the App Store are using iOS and are not interested in other ways, so it's not a matter of choice for those people who are being fed Apple Music as the top pick when they want Spotify.
    If I chose to sell pies exclusively to that restaurant chain and it was a bad deal for me, why wouldn't I seek to negotiate a better deal and investigate alternative ways to sell my pies?

    If it's not a viable business except in the case where every little thing is in your favour... maybe it's not a good business to be in. Time to tell your investors that you weren't able to use their money as effectively as you hoped to, rather than let them continue throwing good money after bad.
    edited October 2021
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