WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: Stanchions block the stairway up to the Senate entrance to the U.S. Capitol on June 01, 2021 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Senate convened for Pro Forma Session, presided by Sen. Angus King (I-ME), during the Memorial Day recess. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple Face New Antitrust Bills Focussing on Breaking Up Big Tech
Two bills introduced by US House of Representatives address tech giants. One of them could potentially force the Big Tech firms to sell assets. US Chamber of Commerce said it “strongly opposes” the bills’ approach
A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives introduced four bills on Friday. It aimed at reining in the power of the tech giants, with one potentially leading to their break-up.
Two of the bills address the issue of giant companies, such as Amazon.com and Alphabet’s Google. Creating a platform for other businesses and then competing against those same businesses.
One measure bans platforms from owning subsidiaries that operate on their platform. Those subsidiaries compete with other businesses – potentially forcing the Big Tech firms to sell assets.
“From Amazon and Facebook to Google and Apple, these unregulated tech giants have become too big to care.
The pro-business US Chamber of Commerce said it “strongly opposes” the bills’ approach. “Bills that target specific companies, instead of focusing on business practices, are simply bad policy. It could be ruled unconstitutional,” the Chamber’s Neil Bradley said in a statement.
Representative David Cicilline, the Democratic chair of the antitrust panel, is an original co-sponsor of the bills, as is the top Republican, Ken Buck. The chair of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, also sponsored the bills.
The third bill would require a platform to abstain from any merger unless it can show the acquired company does not compete with any product or service the platform is in.
A fourth would require platforms to allow users to transfer their data elsewhere if they desire, including to a competing business.
In addition to those four, a fifth bill would raise what the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission charge to assess the biggest companies to ensure their mergers are legal and increase the budgets of the agencies. A companion to this has already passed the Senate.