Break Google or Amazon? Big Tech in the spotlight as new US antitrust bills are introduced – –

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Break Google or Amazon? Big Tech in the spotlight as new US antitrust bills are introduced – –



The United States Capitol is seen at sunrise on January 11, 2021. A bipartisan group of lawmakers from the United States House of Representatives on Friday introduced four bills to curb the power of tech giants, l ‘one that could lead to their breaking up. . (Erin Scott, Reuters)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives on Friday introduced four bills aimed at restricting the power of tech giants, one of which may lead to their disruption.
Two of the bills address the problem of giant companies, such as Alphabet’s Amazon and Google, creating a platform for other companies and then competing with those same companies.

A measure prohibits platforms from owning affiliates that operate on their platform if those affiliates compete with other companies, potentially forcing large tech companies to sell assets.

“From Amazon and Facebook to Google and Apple, it’s clear these unregulated tech giants have grown too big to care,” said U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal, Washington State Democrat and Godfather. of this measure.

The business-friendly US Chamber of Commerce has said it “strongly opposes” the approach of the bills. “Bills that target specific businesses, instead of focusing on business practices, are just bad policy… and could be declared unconstitutional,” the House’s Neil Bradley said in a statement.

In contrast, Robert Weissman, chairman of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said that “the uncontrolled growth and domination of Big Tech has led to incredible abuses of power that have harmed consumers, workers, small businesses and consumers. innovation.

Rep. David Cicillin, the Democratic chairman of the antitrust panel, is an original co-sponsor of the bills, as is senior Republican Ken Buck. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, also sponsored the bills.

A second measure would in most cases make it illegal for a platform to give preference to its own products over its platform with a hefty fine of 30% of the affected company’s US revenue if they violate the measure.

The third bill would require a platform to refrain from any merger unless it can demonstrate that the acquiree is not competing with any product or service in which the platform is located.

A fourth would require platforms to allow users to move their data elsewhere if they wish, including to a competing company.

In addition to those four, a fifth bill would increase what the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission charge to assess larger companies to ensure their mergers are legal and increase agency budgets. A companion to this has already passed the Senate.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington. Editing by Matthew Lewis and Marguerita Choy)

© Copyright Thomson Reuters 2021

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