🧑‍🤝‍🧑 The Big Tech antitrust case in which the US government might actually be tech’s friend

Just like Epic and many small developers, South Korea has a problem with Apple’s App Store and Google Play. And the results of its legal fight in Asia could indicate how friendly the Biden administration will be to Big Tech during the next few years. 

  • South Korea has proposed a law that allows for alternative payment systems outside app stores: As you know from reading the story above, plenty of developers in America want to do the same thing. The U.S. government has also been skeptical of the power of Google and Apple. 

  • The difference is that this proposal is coming from the South Korean government: Apple believes South Korea is targeting American companies, and the U.S. has traditionally worked to counter foreign laws it believes hurt domestic companies. Apple has asked the Biden administration for help. 

  • Given the US antitrust fervor, this is an odd request: As the NYT put it, “Will (the Biden administration) defend tech companies facing antitrust scrutiny abroad while it applies that same scrutiny to the companies at home?” 

Siding with Apple and Google could come at a price

Antitrust cases -- which are already going to be challenging for the government -- don’t come across with as much power if the Biden administration says it’s wrong for another country to take a similar regulation strategy.

  • Wendy Cutler, vice president at the Asia Society Policy Institute told the NYT, “You don’t want to be calling out a country for potentially violating an obligation when at the same time your own government is questioning the practice.”

The Verdict

Many other countries could propose similar legislation, putting the United States into an even bigger bind.