ANTITRUST BILLS TO CREATE PROBLEM FOR TECH GIANTS

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Two of the four antitrust bills address the issue of companies, such as Amazon and Google, creating platforms for other businesses and then competing against them.

The bipartisan group of lawmakers in the US House of Representatives inducted four bills on Friday. It aims at reining in the power of the tech giants, with one potentially dominant to their break-up.

Two of the antitrust bills address the problem of giant companies, such as Amazon.com and Alphabet’s Google. This will create a platform for other businesses and then compete against those similar businesses.

One measure bans platforms from owning subsidiaries that operate on their platform if those subsidiaries compete with other businesses – potentially compelling the Big Tech firms to sell assets.

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From  Amazon and Facebook to Google and Apple, it is clear that these unregulated tech giants have become too big to care, said US Representative Pramila Jayapal, a Washington state Democrat and sponsor of this measure.

The pro-business US Chamber of Commerce said it “strongly opposes” the approach of antitrust bills. These antitrust Bills that target specific companies, instead of focusing on business practices, are simply bad policy. And could be ruled unconstitutional, the Chamber’s Neil Bradley said in a statement.

In contrast, Robert Weissman, president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, said Big Tech’s unchecked growth and dominance have led to incredible abuses of power that have hurt consumers, workers, small businesses, and invention. That unchecked superiority ends now.

Representative David Cicilline, the Democratic chair of the antitrust panel, is an original co-sponsor of the bills, as is the top Republican, Ken Buck. The chair of the Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, also sponsored the antitrust bills.

A second measure would make it illegal in most cases for a platform to give preference to its products on its platform with a hefty fine of 30 percent of the U.S. revenue of the affected business if they violate the measure.

The third antitrust bill would require a platform to refrain from any merger unless it can show the acquired company does not compete with any product or service the platform is in.

A fourth would require platforms to allow users to transfer their data elsewhere if they desire, including to a competing business.

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In addition to those four, a fifth of antitrust bills would raise what the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission charge to assess the biggest companies to ensure their mergers are legal and increase the budgets of the agencies. A companion to this has already passed the Senate.

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