Sunday, October 17, 2021

The new antitrust bill aims to prevent big tech from hurting its rivals

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US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairperson of the Senate Judicial Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, speaks during a hearing on “Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers” in Washington , DC, USA, September 21, 2021.

Ting Shen | Swimming pool | Reuters

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minnesota, chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, said Thursday that she will soon introduce a major antitrust bill targeting big technology alongside senior Judiciary Committee member Chuck Grassley, a Republican. by Iowa.

The American Online Choice and Innovation Act, which shares a general name and characteristics with a bill introduced by the House Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust Chairman David Cicilline, DR.I., would prohibit dominant online platforms from being engage in discriminatory behavior. That could include exercising your guardian power to put your rivals at a disadvantage or to give your own products preference over others.

Cicilline’s version of the bill was removed by a vote of the House Judiciary Committee this summer.

The bill would have profound implications for companies like Amazon, Apple and Google, which have their own markets for products or information. These companies have been accused of ranking their own products above those of their rivals in an attempt to generate more profits for themselves.

Third-party sellers on Amazon, for example, have suspected that the platform ranks its own similar private label products above theirs. Travel or local search sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor have complained that Google unfairly downgrades their links in search results in favor of a prime location for their Google Maps tool. The platforms have denied any misconduct and say their decisions are based on determinations about what will constitute the best experience for users.

“Congress and tech companies have a lot of work to do to make the Internet better, safer, and healthier, but instead of doing it, this bill hits the tech products that consumers love,” wrote Adam Kovacevich, executive director of the Chamber of Progress. , a center-left group backed by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, among others. “Preventing Amazon from selling Amazon Basics and banning Google Maps from its search results will do nothing to improve the Internet for families.”

Klobuchar said in a statement that the bill would give consumers more choice.

“As Big Tech has grown and evolved over the years, our laws have not changed to keep up with and ensure that these companies compete fairly,” Grassley said in a statement. “Big technologies must be held accountable if they behave in a discriminatory manner. Our bill will help create a more equitable playing field and ensure that small businesses can compete with these platforms.”

So far, the bill includes Democratic co-sponsors, Senators Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, DN.J., and Republican co-sponsors Lindsey Graham, RS.C. , John Kennedy, R-La. And Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.

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