Congress To Strip Big Tech Of Monopoly Powers If This Bill Passes

( A bipartisan group of senators plans to introduce legislation in the near future that would target Big Tech companies.

Democrat Amy Klobuchar, the chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, and Republican Church Grassley, the GOP ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, will introduce a major bill on antitrust soon, Klobuchar announced Thursday.

The bill, dubbed the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, would prohibit major online platforms from participating in what’s known as discriminatory behavior. Included under this definition is utilizing their power of being a gatekeeper so they could disadvantage their rivals or preference their company’s products over those of others.

The Senate bill has the same name and many of the same features of a bill that was introduced by Democratic Representative David Cicilline, who is the chairman of the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust. That House bill was voted out of his committee during the summer.

Companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon could all see major regulatory changes enforced on them if the bills were to pass. All three of these companies run marketplaces for information or products, and many have accused them of putting their own products higher than their rivals’ productions so they could generate a higher profit.

Some Amazon third-party sellers, for instance, have claimed that Amazon ranks its private-label products over theirs in search results on the site. This then would direct consumers to choose Amazon’s products over other companies’.

Travel and local search sites such as Tripadvisor and Yelp have filed complaints that said Google lowers links from them in search results, while the Google Maps tool gets boosted up near the top.

All of the Big Tech firms have denied any wrongdoing to this point. They all seem to claim that the decisions on rankings are always based on what would make the best experience for their users.

The Chamber of Progress — a group that is backed by Big Tech firms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and some others — has defended the practice of these tech firms. Its CEO, Adam Kovacevich, recently wrote:

“Congress and tech companies have plenty of work to do to make the Internet better, safer, and healthier — but instead of doing that, this bill takes a hammer to tech products that consumers love. Preventing Amazon from selling Amazon Basics and banning Google’s maps from its search results isn’t going to do anything to make the Internet better for families.

Klobuchar, the senator from Minnesota, said in a statement that the bipartisan bill would give consumers more choice on the Internet.

In a separate statement, Grassley said:

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