Five bipartisan bills are now being considered by the United States House of Representatives, and they are strictly intended to help put checks on the power that comes along with today’s modern technology giants. Let’s take a look at these bills, Big Tech Antitrust Legislation, and how the current business environment has inspired them to be created.
After a long investigation by the House’s antitrust subcommittee which was focused on digital space competition, this new legislation would be the biggest change to antitrust laws in several years. Let’s take a look at each of the five proposed bills.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act
This act is designed to keep tech giants from pushing their own services and products over that of their competitors. This bill also bans companies from cutting their competition off from specific services and from using data collected from rival companies using their platforms to develop products that are in competition with them.
The Ending Platform Monopolies Act
This act was created to prevent big tech companies from tipping the scales in their own favor by leaning on their diversified business portfolios. This means that if a platform has over 50 million monthly active users and a market capitalization rate, also known as a market cap, of over $600 billion, this bill will prevent them from operating another business that could create a conflict of interest situation.
Amazon and Apple have partially inspired this bill, lawmakers have indicated, because each distributes products and services on the platforms that they host, such as Amazon selling Amazon-branded products and Apple creating applications for distribution of their own app store.
The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act
This act was created to prevent businesses from eliminating their competition and otherwise expanding their influence in their market by acquiring the other companies surrounding them. Instead of the government having to prove that this acquisition would cause real harm to the business landscape, the business itself that wants to take ownership of another company carries the burden of proving that this merging would be legal.
The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act
This bill would work to raise filing fees that can then fund the government’s pursuit of of other important antitrust initiatives. These funds would go to the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice to be put toward the aforementioned antitrust initiatives.
The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act
ACCESS is an act that would make transferring one’s private information simpler and is not the only bill that has been introduced to do this.
These Bills Are Largely Targeting Four Particular Companies
The proposed Big Tech Antitrust Legislation is aimed at four specific companies
Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple should have been your guess. In the beginning, when these bills were first released, Ken Buck, the Colorado Representative, called each of these companies out by name in his statement. “Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have prioritized power over innovation and harmed American businesses and consumers in the process. These companies have maintained monopoly power in the online marketplace by using a variety of anticompetitive behaviors to stifle competition.”
These companies who have a combined worth of around $6 trillion have been the main focus of these efforts because of the massive power they hold. These acts could impact them all on some level and have significant impacts on them. Amazon would no longer be able to sell its own products on its marketplace if the Ending Platform Monopolies Act is passed, and Google wouldn’t be able to feature YouTube in its search results. Representatives from each of these four companies have spoken out against the bills and the companies are all currently dealing with other antitrust lawsuits as well.
After a long investigation, these four companies were labeled as monopolies in a House Judiciary Committee report. If the House Judiciary Committee approves the bills, they’ll move onto the next step which is the full House of Representatives, and then move on to the Senate, then to the president.
We will have to wait and see what will happen and how it will influence the world of the internet in the future. What do you think about Big Tech Antitrust Legislation?
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