A bipartisan group of members of the U.S. House of Representatives proposed four bills on Friday aimed at controlling the power of tech giants, one of which could lead to their dissolution.
Two of these bills solve the problem of giant companies such as Amazon and Alphabet’s Google creating platforms for other companies and then competing with these companies.
One measure is to prohibit platforms from owning subsidiaries that operate on their platforms, if these subsidiaries compete with other companies-this may force large technology companies to sell assets.
“From Amazon and Facebook to Google and Apple, it’s clear that these unregulated tech giants have become too big to care about,” Washington State Democratic Rep. Pramila, the initiator of this measure and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal said.
The pro-business American Chamber of Commerce expressed its “strong opposition” to the practice of these bills. Neil Bradley of the Chamber of Commerce said in a statement: “A bill for a specific company, rather than focusing on business practices, is just bad policy…and may be ruled unconstitutional.”
In contrast, Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy organization Public Citizen, said: “The unrestricted growth and dominance of large technology companies has led to an incredible abuse of power that harms consumers, workers, small businesses, and innovation. This This unrestricted power is now over.”
Representative David Sicillin, the Democratic chairman of the antitrust panel, was the original co-sponsor of these bills, as was the top leader of the Republican Party, Ken Buck. The chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, also supports these bills.
In most cases, the second measure will make it illegal for platforms to preferentially use their products on their platforms. If this measure is violated, a huge fine of 30% of the affected company’s income in the United States will be imposed.
The third bill requires platforms not to conduct any mergers unless it can prove that the acquired company does not compete with any products or services of the platform.
The fourth will require the platform to allow users to transfer data to other places as needed, including to competing companies.
In addition to these four bills, the fifth bill will increase the expenses of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in assessing the largest companies to ensure that their mergers are legal and increase the budgets of these agencies. A companion in this regard has passed the Senate.
© Thomson Reuters 2021