U.S. antitrust bill against Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Google – Alphabet Inc Class A (NASDAQ:GOOGL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which seeks to reduce their monopoly superpowers, passed the House Judiciary Committee vote on Thursday.
Clamping on unfair competition
Advanced after a marathon 20-hour session with a tight bipartisan 20-21 vote, the measure has been furiously sponsored by antitrust subcommittee Chair David Cicilline.
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As reported by Reuters, the vote means that these tech giants will have to choose between running a platform and competing on it. Representative Cicilline emphasized the importance of the bill due to their unfair practices by stating: “Google, Amazon, and Apple each favor their own products in search results, giving themselves an unfair advantage over competitors.”
One of the highlight outcomes of the session is the approval of several bills that stop platforms like Amazon.com from undermining rivals who use their platform, and to force the other big techs tech companies contemplating mergers, “to show that they are legal, rather than requiring antitrust enforcers to prove that they are not.”
The House further approved a measure that obliges platforms to allow their users to freely transfer their data.
Microsoft was one of the session’s main protagonists, as the possibility of subjecting Bill Gates’ company to the committee’s whole four-bill package provoked several clashes. As reported by the L.A. Times, the grounds for a “covered platform” in such proposals are based on “market capitalization, monthly users and whether other businesses depend on the company’s services.”
In the extensive exchange that put both Democrats and Republicans at loggerheads within themselves, the House committee debated over antitrust principles, content moderation, freedom of speech, and the criteria of how lawfully define a foreign competitor.
Rebecca Allensworth, professor of antitrust studies at Vanderbilt University School of Law, had anticipated that the session would be “a really big effort,” as the complex language employed sparked sounding disagreements as the discussion is a rewrite of four decades of antitrust law.
According to –Democrat– House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “This legislation attempts to address that [parties concern] in the interest of fairness, in the interest of competition, and the interest of meeting the needs of people whose privacy, whose data and all the rest is at the mercy of these tech companies.”