A package of six bills was presented on Wednesday before the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives. The Judiciary committee has approved five of these antitrust bills, aimed against big tech companies.
On 11th June, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the United States House of Representatives had introduced multiple bills to check the growing power of big-tech. One of the bills is still being debated.
The Crux of these Bills
One of the bills is the ‘American Innovation and Choice Online Act’. It aims to prohibit discriminatory conduct by dominant platform, who compete against businesses on their own platform. The Act also bans self-preferencing, where a platform host favors its own products on its platform. As a result, big platforms could be forced to sell their assets operating on their own platform.
Another bill is the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching, or Access, Act’. It requires large internet platforms to enable users to transfer their data to other platforms.
The third bill which the Committee has passed is the ‘Platform Competition and Opportunity Act’, which prohibits big platforms from entering into a merger with companies it is competing with.
The other two bills are concerned with procedural aspects of antitrust cases and raising federal fees on corporate merger reviews, respectively.
The last bill is the ‘Ending Platform Monopolies Act’. It aims to restrain a platform operator from owning a line of business other than its platform, which gives rise to an “irreconciliable conflict of interest.”
The Way Ahead for the Bills
Right now, the Judicial Committee of the House of Representatives has approved these bills.
Representative David Cicilline, chair of the antitrust subcommittee, said the bill was needed as “Google, Amazon and Apple each favor their own products in search results, giving themselves an unfair advantage over competitors.”
The next stage would be a full House vote, if and when they are brought to the floor. Once the House of Representatives passes the bills, it would be the Senate’s turn to pass them.