U.S. lawmakers say ruling in Apple / Epic fight shows need to update laws
WASHINGTON, Sept. 10 (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers determined to toughen antitrust laws said on Friday that a judge’s ruling granting only partial victory to the creator of “Fortnite” Epic Games in his fight with Apple Inc ( AAPL.O) was further proof of the need for new laws to limit Big Tech.
Earlier Friday, a U.S. federal judge overturned some of Apple’s App Store rules, forcing the company to allow developers to send their users to other payment systems in a partial victory for Epic and other application manufacturers. Read more
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, said the decision only addresses some of her concerns about app stores. “We need to pass federal app store conduct legislation to protect consumers, promote competition and foster innovation,” she said in a statement.
In a briefing with reporters, Apple’s general counsel Katherine Adams defended the company’s practices, saying they benefit iPhone users by protecting their privacy. “Rather than limiting innovation or competition, the App Store has boosted it, ensuring that every developer has the opportunity to compete,” she said.
Klobuchar had partnered with fellow Senate Democrats Richard Blumenthal and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn to introduce a bill in August to ban large app stores, like Apple and Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O) Google, from require application providers to use their payment system, among other measures. Read more
US Representative Ken Buck, a Republican, along with a fellow Democrat, introduced a similar measure in the House.
Buck and Blackburn said in a joint statement the move was a step in the right direction, but agreed it showed why their bill was needed.
“Apple has abused its power to intimidate and profit from small businesses,” they said in a joint statement. “All businesses should be able to communicate with their customers and not be held hostage by monopolistic behavior.”
House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Representative David Cicillin, chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, also called for stricter antitrust laws in the wake of the ruling. The House Judiciary Committee voted in June to approve six bills to strengthen antitrust law, four directly targeting Big Techs.
“It is clear that the courts continue to interpret antitrust laws narrowly in favor of monopolies,” they said.
Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington Additional reporting by Stephen Nellis in San Francisco Editing by Matthew Lewis
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