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  • Post published:21/01/2022
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Photo credit: Paul Thurrott

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 to advance the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which, if enacted as law, will significantly curb the power of companies like Amazon, Apple, Google, and Meta/Facebook.

“This bill is not meant to break up Big Tech or destroy the products and services they offer,” Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley said. “The goal of the bill is to prevent conduct that stifles competition.”

The law would legally prohibit dominant companies from favoring their own products and services and discriminating against other businesses that rely on their products and services. In this case, “dominant” would be defined by the size of their user base and/or market capitalization, neatly side-stepping any issues related to traditional monopoly definitions. In short, the bill targets Big Tech and the market power that these companies wield against competitors.

If passed, Apple and Google would no longer be able to promote their own offerings over those of rivals in their own app stores—or, in Google’s case, via its search service—by using artificial rankings as they do now. Similarly, Amazon could no longer promote its own products over those of third-party sellers when customers search its website for products.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is a bipartisan bill supported by both Democrats and Republicans. And it is perhaps notable that both California senators on the committee voted yes; Apple, Google, and Meta/Facebook are all headquartered in that state. Next, the bill moves to the full U.S. Senate, where it is likely to receive more scrutiny and amendments.

Tagged with Antitrust, Big Tech

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