Big Tech Compliance Tracker: Maryland Proposal Would Prohibit Big Tech From Passing Ad Tax To SMBs; Antitrust Activist Becomes Biden Adviser
Here’s the latest news from the technology industry, which is coming under increasing global scrutiny from governments and consumers.
Maryland Proposal Would Prohibit Big Tech From Passing Digital Ad Taxes To Small To Medium-Sized Businesses (SMBs)
Proposed legislation that would make exemptions to Maryland’s new digital advertising levy clearer has progressed in the state’s senate, Maryland Matters reported. “The intent of the original bill that this is amending was to take the handful of big tech companies that are not paying their fair share in Maryland and bring them into the social contract in Maryland so they pay their fair share,” State Senator James C. Rosapepe said, as per the outlet. The legislation would not allow large tech companies to make small firms pay their digital advertising taxes. Moreover, the bill makes clear that broadcasters and news media won’t have to pay the levy.
Antitrust Activist Timothy Wu Becomes Biden Adviser
Timothy Wu, an influential critic of some of the largest Silicon Valley tech companies, has received a seat on President Joe Biden’s economic council. The White House said in a press release that Wu was named Biden’s Special Assistant to the President for Technology and Competition Policy. Wu’s biography at Penguin Random House says he coined the term “net neutrality.” His books are “The Master Switch,” “The Attention Merchants” and “The Curse of Bigness.”
Microsoft President Brad Smith Will Appear Before Antitrust Subcommittee
Brad Smith will appear before a House antitrust subcommittee hearing this Friday (March 12), Axios reported, citing unnamed sources. Smith, the president of Microsoft, had been publicly behind the news media law in Australia that makes large tech companies provide compensation to news outlets for content or face a penalty. Smith wrote in a February post, “The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead.”
UK Regulators Launches Investigation Into Apple’s App Store
The U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has rolled out an investigation into Apple’s App Store regarding claims that the terms and conditions contravene competition law. The App Store is the only way for programmers to distribute third-party programs on the tech company’s tablets and smartphones.
“Millions of us use apps every day to check the weather, play a game or order a takeaway,” CMA Chief Executive Andrea Coscelli said in a press release on Thursday (March 4). “So, complaints that Apple is using its market position to set terms which are unfair or may restrict competition and choice — potentially causing customers to lose out when buying and using apps — warrant careful scrutiny.”
Apple Could Face EU Charge Sheet Regarding Music Streaming
Apple might encounter an European Union (EU) charge sheet in the future. The potential charge sheet stems from a claim by Spotify, a competitor, which claims that the tech company unfairly promoted its own music streaming offering, Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources. The European Commission could potentially send out the statement of objections, which will outline suspected antitrust contraventions, to Apple ahead of the summer, Reuters reported, citing one of the unnamed sources.
Tencent CEO Provides Proposals To China’s National People’s Congress
The founder and chief executive of Tencent Holdings has provided the National People’s Congress (NPC) with a number of proposals, South China Morning Post reported. Pony Ma Huateng has sought “strict scrutiny” of community group purchasing, housing unit rentals, bike shares and peer-to-peer (P2P) lending. The NPC’s yearly complete session was to officially begin on Friday (March 5).