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Hillicon Valley — Presented by Cisco — Apps urge senators to advance antitrust bill

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Today is Friday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here: thehill.com/newsletter-signup. 

Follow The Hill’s tech team, Chris Mills Rodrigo (@millsrodrigo) and Rebecca Klar (@rebeccaklar_), for more coverage. 

A coalition of executives from popular apps are asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to back a bill they say will help curb the market power of dominant app stores. The bill is slated for a mark up on Tuesday.  

Meanwhile, Apple reported its most profitable holiday season despite supply shortages.  

Let’s jump into the news. 

App CEOs tell Senate to rein in app store power

A coalition of tech executives are urging members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to support a bill aimed at reining in the market power of Apple and Google’s app stores. 

Who signed: CEOs of 20 tech companies, including Spotify, Basecamp and Tile, wrote a letter to the committee members Thursday asking them to back the bipartisan Open Markets Act. 

“Fair and open competition is the driving force behind a well-functioning free market. But today, mobile app marketplace gatekeepers use a vice-like grip to control developers and impose terms and conditions that undermine competition, throttle innovation, limit consumer choice, and lead to higher prices,” the CEOs wrote. 

The letter was part of a push by the Coalition for App Fairness, an industry group for app developers.  

The proposal, co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), is scheduled for a committee mark up on Tuesday.  

Take two: It had been on the committee’s schedule to debate last week, but ultimately was withheld after the senators voted to advance a different antitrust bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. 

App developers have criticized Apple and Google over what they deem to be anticompetitive app store rules. The tech giants have defended their rules, saying they help promote security and safety for consumers. 

Read more here

 

A MESSAGE FROM CISCO

Apple sales surge 

Apple last year reported its most profitable holiday season yet despite widespread supply shortages. 

Revenues for every Apple product category, with the exception of the iPad, grew in the quarter ending Dec. 25 when compared with the year prior. Overall annual revenue last year also surged 11 percent to $123.95 billion, according to an estimate from CNBC 

Apple CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with the network that he was also expecting strong growth in the next quarter. 

“What we expect for the March quarter is solid year-over-year revenue growth,” Cook said, according to CNBC. “And we expect supply constraints in the March quarter to be less than they were in the December quarter.” 

In year-over-year estimates, sales soared 25 percent for Mac products and climbed 9 percent for iPhone products, per CNBC estimates. Apple’s Services, which include the App Store and Apple Music, was also up, by 24 percent. 

Read more here 

META, TIKTOK REMOVE CEREBRAL ADS

Meta and TikTok have removed ads that appeared to link ADHD to obesity following inquiries from NBC News and Forbes, NBC reported 

The ads for the mental health care startup Cerebral ran on Instagram, which is owned by Meta, and TikTok, according to NBC News. 

One said, “Those who live by impulse, eat by impulse” next to an image of a woman close to different types of unhealthy food. The ad said that obesity was “five times more prevalent” in adults with ADHD, the network reported. 

“Advertisers and ad content must follow our Community Guidelines, Advertising Guidelines, and Terms of Service, and content that violates these guidelines will be removed,” a TikTok spokesperson told The Hill in a statement when asked about the NBC News report. 

Separately, Meta spokesperson Stephanie Chan confirmed to NBC News that a different ad from Cerebral, that reportedly called GLP-1 agonists — used to treat Type 2 diabetes — a weight loss “wonder drug,” were also removed from Facebook.  

“We don’t allow content that promote misleading health claims or that attempt to generate negative self-perception in order to promote health-related products. We remove ads that break these rules,” a Meta spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. 

Read more here 

 

BITS AND PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Antitrust can’t tame inequality, let alone inflation 

Lighter click: Hey bruh 

Notable links from around the web: 

Suicide hotline shares data with for-profit spinoff, raising ethical questions (Politico / Alexandra Levine) 

Search for clues about Putin’s Ukraine plans turns to unlikely source: TikTok (NBC / Bianca Britton and Matthew Mulligan) 

 

A MESSAGE FROM CISCO

One last thing: UN Security Council to address Russia, Ukraine  

The United States has called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council to address Russia’s behavior and the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border. 

A senior administration official on Friday told reporters the U.S. wants to get U.N. members on the record.  

“It basically boils down to the question of whether there should be a path of war, or whether there should be a path of diplomacy,” the official told reporters in a briefing. “I think the expectation is that members of the Security Council will be weighing in on this question and supportive of a diplomatic approach.”  

The administration official said that no concrete measures or a joint statement are expected to come out of the council meeting. Russia, as one of five permanent members of the council, holds power to veto such measures. The other permanent members are the U.S., France, the United Kingdom and China. 

Read more here 

That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday. 

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Tags Amy Klobuchar Marsha Blackburn

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