Publishers trade group backs bills targeting Apple, Google monopolies

A group representing major news publishers is backing two bills aimed at curbing Alphabet’s Apple and Google-owned app stores, according to a new report.

The group, called Digital Content Next, wrote to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) supporting bills targeting Big Tech, including one that would open up smartphone app stores to more competition, Reuters said.

The group – which includes the owner of Post News Corp., as well as the New York Times Co., the Associated Press and NPR – also backed a measure that would ban giants like Amazon.com from giving preference to their own businesses. when customers search for their platforms.

Both bills have been rejected by the committee in recent weeks. They were also approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

The bills that are backed by news publishers are aimed at reining in Google and Apple, among others.
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“Platforms should be able to moderate their services to protect consumers, control intellectual property [intellectual property] theft and prevent security breaches. However, some dominant platforms have leveraged their privileged gatekeeper status to compete unfairly in other markets,” Digital Content Next executives Jason Kint and Chris Pedigo wrote in the letter.

Members of the publishing group, which also includes Hearst and Conde Nast, believe Google is misappropriating ad revenue. The group wants to see platforms’ abilities to do so diminished, but its members are concerned that bills pending in Congress could also apply to publishers.

iPhone maker Apple, the target of the App Store bill, urged that it not be passed because the bill would allow practices such as “side-loading”, essentially using an app store. non-Apple apps, which would mean customers would lose the privacy protections that Apple offers, among other issues.

An Apple Store in Shanghai
Apple urged lawmakers not to pass the bill because it supports “side-loading,” which could cause customers to lose privacy.
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For its part, Google reduced its Play Store fees for subscription apps last October, following criticism of fees of around 30%.

Lawmakers from both parties, some concerned about outsized market power and others about claims that conservative voices have been suppressed, have polled the biggest tech companies, including Meta Platforms Inc’s Facebook. There is a long list of bills aimed at curbing Big Tech, but so far none have become law.

With post wires