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Publisher trade group backs bills targeting Apple, Google monopolies

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

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

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

The two bills were voted out of the committee in recent weeks. They have also been approved by the House Judiciary Committee.

The bills that are backed by news publishers are aimed at reining in Google and Apple, among others.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

“Platforms should be able to moderate their services to protect consumers, police IP [intellectual property] theft and prevent security lapses. However, some dominant platforms have leveraged their privileged status as gatekeeper to unfairly compete in other markets,” Digital Content Next executives Jason Kint and Chris Pedigo wrote in the letter.

The members of the publishing group, which also includes Hearst and Conde Nast, see Google as unfairly siphoning off ad revenues. The group wants to see platforms’ abilities to do this diminished, but its members are concerned about the bills wending their way through Congress being applied to the publishers, too.

IPhone maker Apple, a target of the app store bill, has urged that it not be adopted because the bill would allow practices such as “sideloading,” essentially using a non-Apple app store, which would mean that customers lose privacy protections that Apple offers, among other issues.

AN Apple Store in Shanghai
Apple has urged lawmakers not to adopt the bill because it supports “sideloading,” which could cause customers to lose privacy protections.
Barcroft Media via Getty Images

For its part, Google cut its Play Store fees for subscription apps last October, following criticism of fees of about 30%.

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

With Post wires

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