The best early Apple Watch deals for Prime Day 2021 you can get right now

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The Apple Watch is our favorite smartwatch. It’s easy to use, comes with a variety of health tracking features, and has a polished design with plenty of customization options. But it’s not cheap, which is why Amazon Prime Day 2021 is a great time to shop for an Apple Watch.

Last year on Amazon Prime Day, we saw discounts across Apple’s entire Apple Watch lineup, from the nearly 3-year-old Apple Watch Series 3 to the Apple Watch Series 6. Prime Day doesn’t start until June 21 and runs through June 22, but we’re already seeing compelling deals on the Series 6.

See below for everything you need to know about shopping for an Apple Watch on Amazon Prime Day. And don’t forget: you’ll need an Amazon Prime subscription to access the deals.

Prime Monthly Subscription (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

The best early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 6 deals

The Apple Watch Series 6 wasn’t on sale last Prime Day, likely because it had just launched about a month earlier. But we did see prices drop shortly after Prime Day on Black Friday. And now that the Series 6 is almost a year old, we’re hoping to see some compelling discounts that bring it well under the $350 street price.

Watch Series 6 (40mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)Watch Series 6 (44mm, GPS) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch SE deals

The lowest price for the Apple Watch SE we’ve seen so far on Amazon is $230. We’re not seeing any compelling deals just yet, but we’re hoping to see some discounts as Prime Day gets closer. If not, we’ll be looking for discounts this fall after Apple presumably announces new Apple Watch models.

Early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch Series 3 deals

We don’t recommend purchasing the Apple Watch Series 3 unless you find it at an extremely good discount that falls well below its usual street price of $170. Apple still supports the Series 3, but it’s hard to update and will likely begin to feel slow over the next year since it runs on an older processor. While it will be capable of running the latest Apple Watch software, not all features will work – like the new Portraits watch face coming in watchOS 8 and automatic handwashing detection in watchOS 7.

Top early Amazon Prime Day Apple Watch accessory deals

It’s not just the cost of the Apple Watch alone that can get expensive. Accessories like charging cables and bands can add up, too. Prime Day is a great opportunity to pick up some discounted accessories for most electronics, and we’re expecting that to hold true for the Apple Watch as well.

Watch Magnetic Charging Cable (1m) (medium, Preferred: Amazon)

More Apple Prime Day deals

Frequently asked questions

Which Apple Watch should I buy in 2021?

The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best Apple Watch you can buy, but it’s also the most expensive. When picking out a new Apple Watch, be sure to consider what you intend to use it for and how much you’re willing to spend.

The Series 6 is best for those who want the most comprehensive health tracking available, especially if keeping a closer eye on cardiac health is important. That’s because the Series 6 comes with several features that aren’t available on the recently released, budget-focused Apple Watch SE, such as the ability to take an electrocardiogram from the wrist and measure blood oxygen saturation.

Those who are willing to pay extra to have the latest and greatest Apple Watch should also consider the Series 6, since it runs on the newest Apple Watch processor, has an always-on display, and charges faster than the SE.

But the Apple Watch SE still runs on a fairly recent processor and has all of the most important Apple Watch features, such as the ability to track workouts, fall detection, high and low heart rate notifications, and a large screen.

We don’t recommend buying an Apple Watch Series 3 now because its low storage capacity makes it difficult to install important updates. If you’re investing in a new smartwatch, it’s worth paying a little more money to get a device that’s more recent and will last longer.

Is the Apple Watch worth it?

We believe the Apple Watch is the best smartwatch overall because the software is more polished and easier to use than that of rivals, it has an attractive design that matches any style, and it has some of the most comprehensive health and wellness features available. It’s not perfect, but the Apple Watch’s holistic experience is better than that of any smartwatch we’ve tested.

However, that doesn’t necessarily mean the Apple Watch is best for everyone. If you’re a current iPhone owner that wants the flexibility to switch to Android eventually, you’ll want to look elsewhere. Or, if sleep tracking is your main priority in a smartwatch, Fitbit’s Versa 3 might be a better choice.

Why right now is a great time for the best Apple Watch deals

Amazon Prime Day is one of the best times of year to buy a new Apple Watch, along with Black Friday and Cyber Monday should you miss it. This is because Apple typically announces new models in September, so buying a Series 6 in, say, August makes little sense. Even if you don’t care about having the newest Apple Watch, you may be able to find the previous-generation Apple Watch at a better discount once the new version is released.

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Apple reportedly planned to open its own primary healthcare clinics and employ doctors in a project codenamed ‘Casper,’ which stalled because key people quit

Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • In 2016, Apple launched a plan, codenamed Casper, to offer primary-care medicine, the WSJ reported.
  • In Casper, which is making little progress, Apple wanted to open clinics and employ doctors, sources said.
  • Multiple people reportedly quit the project, and Apple is instead focusing on devices like its watch.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple has spent years trying to push into healthcare, including by launching its own clinics and employing doctors – but these plans have mostly stalled, according to a new report by The Wall Street Journal.

Apple launched a primary-care medicine project in 2016, codenamed Casper, The Journal reported, citing documents and people familiar with the plan.

Apple planned to offer primary healthcare at its own clinics staffed by Apple-employed doctors, according to the people.

In 2017 it hired Dr. Sumbul Desai from Stanford University as its vice president of health to run the effort.

The company is still working on the project but has struggled to move past a preliminary stage, they said. This is partly because multiple people have quit the project, The Journal reported.

Sources told the publication that Desai’s unit discouraged critical feedback, and that some staff had concerns that internal data showing the performance of trial clinics was inaccurate or compiled haphazardly.

An Apple spokesperson told The Journal that data integrity was at the foundation of the company’s innovations. The spokesperson said that the company was still in the early phases of its healthcare work, and said that data from Apple’s devices was being used for research that could potentially improve care.

“Many of the assertions in this report are based on incomplete, outdated, and inaccurate information,” they added.

Insider asked Apple for more detail, but did not immediately receive a response.

Read more: Amazon is weighing a push into physical pharmacies to grab a bigger slice of the $370 billion prescription market

Apple built a huge team of clinicians, engineers, and product designers to work on its healthcare projects, The Journal reported. Alongside Casper, the company also launched a digital health app earlier this year but has struggled to keep users engaged, sources said.

Apple spent months looking into how it could use health and wellness data from Apple Watch users to improve healthcare, the sources told The Journal. Under the plan, this would have been linked with both virtual and in-person care, they said, meaning that Apple would offer both primary care and continuous health monitoring.

Apple planned to offer a subscription-based personalized health program, The Journal reported, citing both documents and people familiar with the plan.

Apple first tested out the service on its own employees by taking over employee health clinics near its headquarters, sources told the publication.

Apple would have considered franchising the model to health systems and other countries if it could prove it was improving people’s health and lowering healthcare costs, according to documents seen by The Journal.

People familiar with the plans said that the tech giant was now focusing its health unit on selling devices such as the Apple Watch. It debuted a new $400 Apple Watch in September that measures blood oxygen levels and heart rhythms.

Other tech giants have tried to branch into the booming healthcare industry, too – many with limited success, as Insider’s Allana Akhtar reported.

Google Health has struggled to define its mission and figure out how to make money. There was also public backlash and a US probe into its first major partnership with health system Ascension over privacy concerns.

Amazon, JPMorgan, and Berkshire Hathaway also disbanded their joint healthcare venture, Haven, in February after it struggled to come up with ideas and lost both financial backing and key leaders.

But Amazon is making other, more successful forays into healthcare. It launched Amazon Pharmacy in November, which sends customers their prescription medicine with no delivery fee, and is developing a way to connect workers at other companies with primary care specialists for online and in-person visits, dubbed Amazon Care.

Microsoft recently bought AI firm Nuance for $19.7 billion to bolster up its healthcare unit – its second-largest acquisition ever.

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Investors shouldn’t rush back to big tech stocks as reflation and reopening trades are better near-term bets, says UBS

Mark
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

  • Investors shouldn’t rush back into buying stocks in big tech companies, the wealth management team at UBS said in Monday note.
  • Tech stocks will face another rise in bond yields and the industry will be dealing with near-term regulatory headwinds.
  • House lawmakers last week introduced five bills at aimed addressing antitrust concerns.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Investors should hold off on diving back into shares of large technology companies as the industry faces regulatory challenges and will be hurt again by rising borrowing costs, according to the wealth management team at UBS.

Major technology shares overall have recovered from their lows of the year. High-flying tech stocks were ditched by investors earlier in the year as buyers sought companies they believed have more direct exposure to the reopening of the economy. The Nasdaq Composite is up about 10% so far this year and the NYSE FAANG+ index that tracks mega-cap tech stocks has picked up about 9%.

But a move back into tech stock may be a misstep for investors in the short-run, UBS said.

“We don’t think investors should rush back into big tech, with the tactical outlook favoring reflation and reopening beneficiaries like financials and energy,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer of global wealth management at UBS, in a note published Monday.

One reason for the view is that UBS expects yields on government bonds to begin rising again. That could spell another round of trouble for tech stocks after the closely watched 10-year yield earlier this year quickly zoomed up to a 14-month high of 1.76%. The jump to the peak in March stemmed from investors selling bonds and pursuing riskier assets as coronavirus vaccinations and government spending plans fostered strong growth prospects for the world’s largest economy. But the higher yields stoked worries that higher borrowing costs would hurt technology companies.

Yields have pulled back from their highs as investors appeared to have embraced the Federal Reserve’s view that hot inflation levels will be temporary and that it will stick with measures to support economic growth. UBS, however, said it believes yields will begin gradually rising again to the detriment of tech shares.

Also, “we think that US antitrust developments could pose near-term headline risk for tech stocks,” said Haefele.

Last week, House lawmakers introduced five bills aimed at giving regulators more power to control tech companies from holding too much market dominance and the bills have some bipartisan support. The legislation is aimed at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, which in recent years have faced heavy scrutiny related to antitrust concerns.

“So within a portfolio context, we think investors should consider allocating to growth and technology via private equity holdings,” as the investment case for the tech industry is still sound on a longer-term basis, said UBS.

It said global tech acquisitions within private equity rose to $82 billion in the first quarter, marking an all-time high for a quarter, and were up by 144% compared with the first quarter in 2020.

“With approximately 497,000 global private tech companies, the breadth of investable companies is vast compared to the roughly 8,100 publicly held tech firms,” UBS said.

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Apple is reportedly closer to adding a glucose monitor and body temperature sensor to future Apple Watches

Apple fall September event Apple Watch iPad
  • Apple has been working on a blood sugar sensor for its Watch for years, Bloomberg reports.
  • Adding such a health tracker would be a significant move for Apple and give it an edge in the market.
  • The firm is also working on a body temperature sensor and a more rugged model.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple is getting closer to adding a glucose monitor to future Watch models, Bloomberg reported Monday.

The company has been working on such a blood sugar sensor for years, with reports stretching as far back as 2017 detailing how Apple has wanted to use the watchband to monitor glucose.

Bloomberg similarly reported that the company is working on a non-invasive feature that wouldn’t involve finger pricking. Instead, Apple would enable the watch to somehow analyze a wearer’s blood through their skin.

The feature, however, won’t be available for commercial use for several more years, according to the report. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bloomberg also reported that Apple was planning on including a body temperature sensor in this year’s Watch model, which is expected to be called the Series 7, but the feature will most likely be pushed back to 2022. So will an extreme sport Apple Watch that will put the company head-to-head with the likes of Garmin and Casio.

Sources told Bloomberg that the Series 7 will have a faster processor, better wireless connectivity, and an updated screen. Apple also plans to roll out a new version of the Watch SE next year, per the report.

Read more: Apple’s growth in wearables is the most impressive feat from its holiday quarter

Apple is the global market leader in the smartwatch world, eating up more than half the market share. But it still faces competition from Google’s Fitbit and others. Incorporating more health tracking capabilities into its Watch would give it even more of an edge.

Apple unveiled its $400 Watch Series 6 in fall 2020 that can read the wearer’s blood oxygen levels and charges faster than its predecessors. It also has a brighter screen display.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Apple will reportedly let vaccinated customers go maskless in many of its stores from Tuesday

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook

  • Apple plans to drop mask mandates for vaccinated customers at many stores from Tuesday, sources told Bloomberg.
  • Apple staff at the stores will still have to wear masks, the sources said.
  • Apple employees in some California offices will also be allowed to drop their masks, Bloomberg reported.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple plans to allow vaccinated customers to go without masks at many of its US stores from Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Staff would not ask customers to provide proof of vaccination, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.

Staff would still have to wear masks, the company has told workers, per the sources.

The sources asked to remain anonymous because they did not want to discuss company policy before its public announcement, Bloomberg reported.

Apple’s mask mandate would also be scrapped for employees based at Apple’s offices in Cupertino, California, according to an internal memo viewed by Bloomberg.

Some US retailers dropped their in-store mask mandates for customers last month, after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its mask guidelines for fully-vaccinated people.

Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joe’s were among the retailers that lifted mask requirements for vaccinated customers.

Apple would check customers’ temperature at the door of its stores and limit occupancy to enable social distancing, Deidre O’Brien, Apple’s senior vice president of retail and people, said in a blogpost last month.

Apple did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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Some employees are quitting their jobs over return-to-office policies. A strategic-thinking expert explains how leaders can maintain a flexible approach to keep workers on board.

young workers in office
Some employees are quitting their jobs over inflexible return-to-work arrangements.

  • Some employees are becoming increasingly frustrated with their company’s return-to-work plans.
  • In some cases, they have even quit their jobs over inflexible work policies.
  • As offices reopen, an expert shared the best strategies leaders should use to keep staff on board.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As the world starts to reopen, return-to-office plans are slowly coming into effect.

Companies, such as Apple, have announced a plan that expects employees to come back to the office three days a week from September. Other companies have not yet posted what their back-to-office plans are.

But for many, a return to office life isn’t a simple transition after so long. In fact, 55% of employees said they would prefer to remain remote at least three days a week, according to a January 2021 study from PWC that surveyed 1,200 office workers throughout November and December 2020.

Most recently, Apple employees revolted against CEO Tim Cook over the company’s new work policy in a letter signaling their frustration toward a three-day office schedule. The letter also addressed a growing concern that the new policy has already forced some of the staff to quit over its inflexibility.

So, how can leaders build flexible work environments and implement return-to-work strategies that retain workers and avoid employee resignations?

Rose Gailey, a return-to-work and organizational culture expert, and partner at Heidrick & Struggles, a management consulting firm focused on leadership and shaping corporate culture, discussed the subject with Insider and shared strategies leaders should adopt to retain their workers in their return-to-office plans.

An empathetic approach

“Employees will not leave a company solely because of the tangibles like pay or return to work – those may be factors, but they are likely to leave if they don’t feel valued, understood, and supported,” Gailey said in reference to a seemingly growing divide between employees and their leaders in some companies.

The leaders that handle this pivotal moment most successfully will be C-suite leaders that lean into their humanity and empathy, she said. “One clear lesson from the pandemic: new models have emerged and companies need to embrace greater levels of flexibility.”

One of the biggest mistakes leaders are susceptible to in their post-pandemic work plans is believing we can return to old models, Gailey said. “Companies should guard against assuming that an arbitrary return date will mean 100% normalcy.”

To address growing concerns around mass resignations as a result of companies’ return-to-office plans, Gailey expanded on the strategies she thinks company leaders should adopt to prevent employee walkouts.

Plan your approach

“Leaders need to approach returning to the office with the same level of planning and importance as the acquisition of a new company or the launch of a new product – clearly focused on executing a strategy through a foundation of a thriving culture,” she said.

Communicate with employees

Communication between employees and company leaders is critical, according to Gailey.

“Recent data suggests up to 47% of workers say their firm has not communicated with them about the return to office plans.” Companies, therefore, must rely on “sensitive, two-way communication, gather feedback [and] reflect it to employees.”

The mantra should then become “iterate, test and learn,” as companies continue ongoing dialogue with employees, she added.

‘Draft a vision for how to live your values’

For Gailey, any return-to-office roadmaps must be future-focused, rooted in culture and performance. “It can’t be about just getting people back into the office.”

She continued: “Draft a vision for how to live your values and challenge leaders to model inclusive behaviors by announcing policies and work structures with both clarity and agility,”

Building a flexible company culture

Authenticity and agility are key to building a company culture that enables flexible-working environments and fosters employee productivity and wellbeing, according to Gailey.

“Leaders have to embrace authenticity, double down on agility, and truly commit to the hard work of building a great culture.”

The past 15 months have accelerated long overdue changes for the American worker, Gailey said, “and have highlighted the idea that culture is not about the place you work – it’s about the spirit of an organization.”

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Watergate figure John Dean described the Trump DOJ’s surveillance of House Democrats as ‘Nixon on stilts and steroids’

john dean
John Dean is seen testifying before the House Judiciary Committee hearing about Lessons from the Mueller Report on June 10, 2019.

  • John Dean described the Trump DOJ’s surveillance of Democrats as “Nixon on stilts and steroids.”
  • Dean criticized Bill Barr, alleging that the former attorney general was committed to serving Trump.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff of California has called for “a full accounting of the Trump DOJ’s abuse of power.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

John Dean, the former White House counsel under the late President Richard Nixon, on Friday described the Justice Department seizing the smartphone data of Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee as “Nixon on stilts and steroids.”

The comments came after The New York Times reported that former Attorneys General Jeff Sessions and William Barr subpoenaed Apple to gain access to the records of members of the committee, after they were informed of leaks in the Trump administration.

During an appearance on CNN’s Erin Burnett OutFront, Dean, who helped bring down Nixon over the Watergate scandal, said the actions of former President Donald Trump’s DOJ went further than that of his former boss.

“Nixon didn’t have that kind of Department of Justice,” he said.

Dean then remarked on how the Nixon administration handled the 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers, the classified documents that detailed the history of the US military and political involvement in Vietnam.

“I got a call from the Oval Office the day after he learned that, and could the Department of Justice bring a criminal action for this? Called over, found out the short answer was they could, but they won’t,” Dean said. “So Nixon couldn’t use the department as he wanted to.”

Burnett asked Dean if the actions of Trump’s DOJ went “beyond what Nixon did.”

“It is beyond Nixon, yes,” Dean said. “It’s Nixon on stilts and steroids.”

Read more: The Justice Department is scrutinizing Arizona’s pro-Trump vote audit as threats of violence and political fallout loom

Dean then laced into Barr, alleging that the former attorney general was long committed to serving Trump.

“The memo he wrote to get the job says ‘I’m ready to execute your presidency like a unitary executive presidency should be,’ which means no bars hold,” he told Burnett. “And he did that. It’s quite clear he didn’t have to be told on many things.”

He added: “We now know there are countless examples of norms he was willing to break.”

The DOJ’s Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, said in a statement Friday that his office would investigate the incident, after receiving queries from Democratic lawmakers in Congress.

“The review will examine the Department’s compliance with applicable DOJ policies and procedures, and whether any such uses, or the investigations, were based upon improper considerations,” the statement read. “If circumstances warrant, the OIG will consider other issues that may arise during the review.”

Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California, a longtime political adversary of Trump who was one of the subpoena targets, on Friday called for a thorough review of the matter.

“We need a full accounting of the Trump DOJ’s abuse of power targeting Congress and the press,” he tweeted. “An IG investigation is just the start. The full range of the misconduct must be examined, including Barr’s efforts to protect those who lied to cover up, and go after Trump’s enemies.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

How Apple, Google, and Microsoft reacted to Trump-era DOJ subpoenas and requests for data on political rivals and journalists

Apple CEO Tim Cook showing President Donald Trump a computer part.
Apple CEO Tim Cook with former President Donald Trump in 2019.

  • The Trump-era Justice Department requested data from Apple, Google, and Microsoft on his rivals.
  • Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose data was sought, said Trump acted like the “most despicable dictators.”
  • Here’s how each company responded to the legal requests.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

During President Donald Trump’s years in the White House, the Department of Justice requested information from tech companies about his Democrat rivals in Congress and members of the press.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, whose data had been sought, said in a statement on Friday: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”

Some of the world’s biggest tech companies – including Google, Apple, and Microsoft – received subpoenas or other record requests for information held by accounts belonging to the press, members of Congress, their staff members, or their families.

This is how each company reacted to those legal requests:

Apple

An Apple spokesperson on Friday said the company received grand jury subpoenas for 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, according to TechCrunch’s Zack Whittaker. Apple handed over “account subscriber information and did not provide any content such as emails or pictures.”

The company turned over metadata relating to Swalwell and Rep. Adam Schiff, according to statements from both politicians, who were among Trump’s political opponents.

Apple on Friday told CNBC that the grand jury subpoena included a gag order, keeping Apple from telling customers about the requests. The requests didn’t include information about the investigation, CNBC reported.

Swalwell said he was notified by Apple last month.

“In May, I was notified by Apple that my records were among those sought by – and turned over to – the Trump Administration as part of a politically motivated investigation into his perceived enemies,” he said on Friday.

Google

The Trump administration’s DOJ sought email logs from Google relating to four reporters at The New York Times. That request also came with a gag order, according to The Times. The newspaper reported that “no records were obtained.”

Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a June 5 statement said the White House hadn’t been made aware of the gag order.

“While the White House does not intervene in criminal investigations, the issuing of subpoenas for the records of reporters in leak investigations is not consistent with the President’s policy direction to the Department, and the Department of Justice has reconfirmed it will not be used moving forward,” she said.

Lawyers for the newspaper have filed a request to unseal the Trump-era DOJ filings preceding the data requests, The Times reported this week.

“These orders represent an extraordinary challenge to press freedom, undermining the ability of the press to report truthful information of vital public concern,” the newspaper’s court filing said.

Microsoft

Microsoft in 2017 received a subpoena for a congressional staff member’s personal email account, according to multiple reports. The reports did not identify the staffer.

In a statement sent to The Daily Mail, a Microsoft spokesperson said the company believes “customers have a constitutional right to know when the government requests their email or documents, and we have a right to tell them.”

The spokesperson added: “In this case, we were prevented from notifying the customer for more than two years because of a gag order. As soon as the gag order expired, we notified the customer who told us they were a congressional staffer.”

Insider has reached out to Apple, Google, and Microsoft for additional information.

Schiff on Friday called for an investigation into the Trump-era DOJ by the independent Inspector General, saying it would be “just the start.”

“We need a full accounting of the Trump DOJ’s abuse of power targeting Congress and the press,” Schiff said on Twitter on Friday.

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Apple says it didn’t share pictures or emails from lawmakers’ phones with Trump DOJ under subpoenas seeking to unmask leakers

President Donald Trump sits at a table with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
President Donald Trump meets with members of his American Technology Council, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, on June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

  • Apple revealed new details about the Trump DOJ’s subpoena targeting House Intel Committee lawmakers.
  • It told TechCrunch the subpoena included a gag order and “no information” on the DOJ’s inquiry.
  • Apple said it gave “account subscriber information” and no content, “such as emails or pictures.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple on Friday revealed additional detail about subpoenas it received from the Trump administration’s Department of Justice seeking data about members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Apple told TechCrunch reporter Zack Whittaker the DOJ’s subpoenas sought metadata about 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, but that it only disclosed “account subscriber information and did not provide any content such as emails or pictures.”

Apple also told TechCrunch the subpoena was issued by a federal grand jury, included a gag order signed by a federal magistrate judge, and “provided no information on the nature of the investigation,” making it “virtually impossible for Apple to understand the intent of the desired information without digging through users’ accounts.”

“We regularly challenge warrants, subpoenas and nondisclosure orders and have made it our policy to inform affected customers of governmental requests about them as soon as possible,” Apple added, implying the gag order prevented it from informing lawmakers targeted by the subpoenas until recently.

The highly unusual subpoenas issued by the Trump-era DOJ sought data from Apple on at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as aides, family members, and even one minor, with the goal of hunting down sources behind news reports about connections between Trump associates and Russia, The New York Times reported this week.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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Democrats plan to take on big tech with 5 major antitrust bills aimed at making it easier to weaken monopolies

big tech ceos

House Democrats plan to introduce five separate bills as early as this week that could dramatically reign in big tech companies’ economic dominance, Politico reported Wednesday.

The bills address a number of lawmakers’ concerns about the growing power of tech titans like Amazon, Apple, Alphabet-owned Google, and Facebook.

One bill, headed up by Rep. Pramilia Jayapal, of Washington, would let the Department of Justice or Federal Trade Commission sue to break up tech companies by forcing them to sell parts of their business that present a conflict of interest, Politico reported. That could spell trouble for companies like Amazon and Google, which critics say use their dominance of web hosting and digital ad markets to promote their own products and services.

A second bill, authored by Rep. David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, would ban large tech companies from favoring their own products in digital marketplaces they operate and set the rules for, according to Politico. That takes aim at how Apple’s App Store policies impact app developers and how Amazon treats third-party sellers in its marketplace.

A third bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, of New York, would prohibit platform companies from acquiring or merging with potential competitors, Politico reported. That follows criticism of Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, and the FTC’s probe into potentially anticompetitive acquisitions by Facebook, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon.

A fourth bill, sponsored by Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, of Pennsylvania, would require platforms with more than 500,000 US users, or those designated by regulators as a “critical trading partner,” to make it easier for users to move their data to rival platforms, Politico reported. Lawmakers have criticized Facebook and Google for hoarding users’ personal data in an endless “feedback loop” that helps them maintain their market power.

The final bill, identical to one sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in a spending bill that passed this week, Politico reported, would require companies to pay antitrust regulators more when seeking their approval for mergers. Regulators are vastly underresourced compared to the tech giants they’re tasked with regulating, placing them at a huge disadvantage if they seek to block a merger and it goes to court – increased legal fees could help balance the scales.

The set of bills reflects recommendations from a landmark 449-page House Judiciary Committee report last fall that called the companies monopolies that needed to be broken up.

The report was the result of an extensive investigation in which the committee probed whether major tech companies had used their size and market position to engage in anticompetitive behaviors that unfairly harmed rivals, consumers, and society more broadly.

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