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Publisher group backs antitrust bills meant to rein in US tech giants

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What you need to know

  • A publisher trade group has expressed support for two antitrust bills targeting U.S. technology giants.
  • The bills seek to open up smartphone app stores to more competition and prevent tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own businesses.
  • The Digital Content Next group comprises many of the country's largest publishers such as The New York Times, Associated Press and News Corp.

A trade group representing major publishers in the U.S. has thrown its weight behind two antitrust bills aimed at limiting the market dominance of tech giants in the country.

Digital Content Next, which includes The New York Times, Associated Press, News Corp. and NPR, has sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee to express their support for new legislations targeting the U.S. big tech, Reuters reported. The Open Markets Act is one of these bills, and it aims to increase competition in the mobile app store market.

DCN executives Jason Kint and Chris Pedigo stated in the letter:

Platforms should be able to moderate their services to protect consumers, police IP theft and prevent security lapses. However, some dominant platforms have leveraged their privileged status as gatekeeper to unfairly compete in other markets.

It's not surprising that DCN is supporting the antitrust bill that advanced in the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month (via CNBC). In late 2020, DCN joined the Coalition for App Fairness, which denounced Apple for its "unfair App Store terms, special treatment afforded to select companies, and anti-competitive behavior." The coalition pushed for a "fair and competitive digital landscape."

In a nutshell, the Open App Markets Act requires major app stores to make it easier for developers to distribute their apps to smartphones, including the best Android phones and iOS devices.

Apple, on the other hand, opposed the legislation because it could encourage sideloading, which it claimed would undermine the privacy safeguards provided by its ecosystem.

Another piece of legislation supported by DCN aims to prevent tech behemoths like Amazon and Google from giving preferential treatment to their own businesses. Members of the group bemoaned the loss of ad revenue to Google and other advertising giants.

The publisher trade group, on the other hand, is concerned about any future action that would align them with the companies covered by these bills.

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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.