We missed that earlier: On June 11, U.S. lawmakers debuted five bipartisan bills aimed at curbing the power of tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon. These bills are the product of the 16 months long detection from the Justice Committee of the House of Representatives, which found that big tech companies enjoy monopoly power. “The law represents the most comprehensive attempt to reform centuries-old antitrust laws.” CNBC reported.
“Unregulated technology monopolies have too much power over our economy. You are in a unique position to select winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise consumer prices, and place people out of work. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure that the richest and most powerful technology monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us. ”- Rep. David Cicilline said.
The bills have yet to be endorsed by the House of Representatives and approved by the Senate before they can be enacted by the President.
What are the five bills?
1. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (shortcut)
This bill is with the aim of preventing dominant companies from unfairly disadvantaging competitors. For example, Amazon is being prevented from using data collected on its e-commerce platform to give its own private label products an advantage over those of third parties. Google will also be prevented from favoring its services such as YouTube and Maps in the search results itself, and Apple will be prevented from preinstalling its own apps on the devices it sells. Additionally, Apple and Android are prohibited from setting policies for their app stores that cause app developers to lose business and revenue, including policies that prevent developers from telling users that they can pay for online subscriptions, to avoid app store commissions. Companies that fail to comply will face significant penalties – 30 percent of the average daily turnover of the business unit in question.
2. The end of the platform monopoly law (shortcut)
This bill that targets many of the same issues as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act is The aim is to prevent companies from owning a platform and offering services on it that represent a conflict of interest by competing with third parties on the platform. It specifically targets an enterprise platform with at least 50 million monthly active US users and a market capitalization of over $ 600 billion. It is aimed directly at platforms like Amazon, which not only operate a marketplace for other sellers, but also have their own inventory and own brands. It is also aimed at Apple and Google who, in addition to running app stores for developers, also sell their own competing apps and services. The Justice Department is empowered to dissolve such companies by forcing them to sell parts of their business.
3. The Platform Competition and Opportunities Act (shortcut)
This bill will deter dominant online platforms from buying companies that they perceive to be a competitive threat. This is to prevent big tech companies from buying out competitors they see as emerging threats, such as Instagram’s 2012 takeover of Facebook. In order for such deals to be carried out, platforms need to demonstrate that they will not affect competition and shift the burden of proof from regulators and businesses.
4. The Act to Increase Compatibility and Competition by Enabling the Service Switching (ACCESS) Act (shortcut)
This bill will make it easier for consumers to port data between platforms by adopting data interoperability standards. It is expected to decrease the ability of platforms like Apple to engage customers with their ecosystem. This allows users to seamlessly switch between platforms, much like customers can port numbers between carriers.
5. The law to modernize the filing fee for mergers (shortcut)
This bill calls for an increase in merger fees and the budget for antitrust authorities like the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s anti-trust division. The aim is to make more resources available to the competition authorities to investigate antitrust behavior. An accompanying draft law has already been passed by the Senate.