Apple CEO Tim Cook recently called U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers in an outreach effort to sway opinion against the ratification of a set of sweeping antitrust bills that aim to rein in Big Tech, a new report claims.
Citing sources familiar with Cook’s calls, The New York Times reports Apple’s chief executive phoned Pelosi and other members of Congress to warn them of potential pitfalls baked in to a set of five proposals announced earlier this month.
Cook cautioned that the bills were rushed, would stifle innovation, and would hurt consumers by wreaking havoc on Apple services, according to the report. He also requested that the Judiciary Committee delay its process of consideration which, if approved, would send the legislation to the full House. From there, the bills would need to pass the Senate before reaching the desk of the President.
Pelosi pushed back on Cook’s ask, the report says, pressing him to name specific policy objections on the proposed material.
Cook is not the only tech figure to voice opposition to the batch of antitrust laws. Kent Walker, Google’s senior vice president for global affairs, also made calls to lawmakers, while lobbyists and representatives for Amazon and Facebook have issued statements critical of the proposed measures.
On Monday, a group of think tanks and nonprofits, many of which receive backing from Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, issued a condemnatory letter to the Judiciary Committee. In it, the groups decry policies that could result in lasting repercussions for the tech industry.
“We believe that voters want Congress to fix things that are broken — not break or ban things that they feel are working well,” the letter reads. “We strongly encourage you to reject these proposals.”
The package of bipartisan bills aims to redefine how Big Tech operates and could mean a potential breakup of sector leaders. Issues targeted in the legislation include conflicts of interest, acquisitions, and outsized power enjoyed by top companies like Apple. One bill, for example, would prohibit Apple from selling devices with first-party apps preinstalled. Another provides more funding for the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, the latter of which named prominent antitrust scholar Lina Khan as its chair.