Tech Giants, Fearful of Proposals to Curb Them, Blitz Washington With Lobbying – The New York Times

Ho grandi aspettative per Lina Khan. Chi la conosce ne parla molto bene e dice che è molto allineata al mio modo di pensare.


Source : 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.

The calls by Mr. Cook are part of a forceful and wide-ranging pushback by the tech industry since the proposals were announced this month. Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen think tanks and advocacy groups paid by tech companies have swarmed Capitol offices, called and emailed lawmakers and their staff members, and written letters arguing there will be dire consequences for the industry and the country if the ideas become law.

The bills, the most sweeping set of antitrust legislation in generations, take aim at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by trying to undo their dominance in online commerce, advertising, media and entertainment. There are six bills in total, and if passed, they would empower regulators, make it harder for the tech giants to acquire start-ups and prevent the companies from using their strength in one area to form a grip in another.

Amazon’s top lobbyist, Brian Huseman, rarely speaks publicly about bills before there is a vote. But with the House Judiciary Committee expected to vote on the bills on Wednesday, he warned in a statement on Tuesday that the legislation “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.”

Google’s senior vice president for global affairs, Kent Walker, has also made calls to lawmakers in recent days, and the company’s top lobbyist, Mark Isakowitz, has weighed in on how the bills would alter how people use the internet. “American consumers and small businesses would be shocked at how these bills would break many of their favorite services,” he said in a statement. A spokesman for Facebook, Christopher Sgro, said that antitrust laws “should promote competition and protect consumers, not punish successful American companies.”

Thirteen nonprofits, most of which have received funding from the tech giants, wrote a letter to lawmakers decrying two of the bills. NetChoice, one of the groups, hosted a public panel on Tuesday featuring Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah and a leading member of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, to cast skepticism on the proposals. A prominent Republican lobbyist and fund-raiser, Jeff Miller, has been trying to stanch the support for the bills within his party, reaching out to members of Congress on behalf of his tech company clients.

“In a way I’ve never seen before, they are fighting tooth and nail,” said Gigi Sohn, a distinguished fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for Technology Law and Policy. “They consider these bills existential for them because they get at their business models.”

Apple declined to comment on Mr. Cook’s calls to lawmakers, including to Ms. Pelosi.

The companies, which have long faced accusations of holding too much power, are now scrambling to find their footing with Democrats in control of Congress and the White House. The administration has picked aggressive critics of Big Tech as top antitrust regulators, including Lina Khan, the new chair of the Federal Trade Commission whose work as a legal scholar laid the foundation for the current antitrust push.

In Congress, progressive Democrats focused on the market power of the companies have united with some Republicans accusing social media companies of political bias and censorship. Representative Ken Buck of Colorado, the ranking Republican of the Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, co-sponsored some of the bills being considered and has brought along other Republican members to support the legislation.

Continua qui:New York Times

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