US House Introduces New Antitrust Bills Aimed At Big Tech Companies

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A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives has introduced five new antitrust bills aimed at restricting the power of large tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. As reported by the New York Times, the bills represent a drastic overhaul of current antitrust laws, providing additional funding for regulators and making it easier to break up businesses using power in one area to force its way into another area.

This comes a year after an antitrust committee released a report declaring that the big tech companies have been engaging in monopolistic practices. These bills are posed to be some of the most drastic measures taken against tech companies if the bills are passed. One of the bills would make it illegal for a company like Google to prioritize its own businesses on its search engine. Google would need to weigh YouTube results on Google equally with other businesses or would have to split off the video company.

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Another bill would prohibit a company with a dominant platform from using its influence to lock out competitors from its platform or from demanding conditions for those who want access to its business. This bill would have a direct impact on Apple, which has been dealing with an antitrust lawsuit from Epic Games for using its dominance over the iOS platform to take a large percentage of profits from apps on its store. While all of the bills do have bipartisan support, it does not necessarily mean that they will be easy to pass.

Adam Kovacevich, the head of Chamber of Progress, a lobbying group with Big Tech members told the New York Times that removing these tech companies’ products from the top search results may result in consumer backlash. Not putting conveniences first, like Amazon Basics Batteries first on an Amazon search for batteries may upset consumers.

Smaller tech companies like Roku have praised the bills, with a representative saying that the bigger tech companies flagrantly ignore antitrust regulations.

“An aggressive set of reforms is needed to prevent a future where these monopolists further abuse consumer choice and hamper access to innovative and independent products,” The Roku representative told the New York Times.

The bills will need to pass through both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, before being signed into law.

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