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US Senate committee approves antitrust reform bill to tame Big Tech

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The US Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a key antitrust reform that would prohibit Big Tech from favouring its own services and products over those of competitors.

Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Josh Hawley (R-MO), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) spearheaded the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (R-IA).

“I want to stress that this bill is not meant to break up Big Tech or destroy the products and services they offer. Rather, the goal of the bill is to prevent conduct that stifles competition, while ensuring that pro-consumer innovations and offerings are still available,” said Grassley.

A similar bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee last year, but it has yet to be voted on the House floor and must be approved by both chambers of Congress before it is sent to US President Joe Biden’s desk, according to The Verge.

The White House made no statement on the bill.

However, White House officials met with leaders of companies that have previously criticised Big Tech.

“Several participants described issues with large platforms both operating a marketplace and selling products on the marketplace, including concerns that the dominant platforms rank their own products and services above those of the independent sellers that rely on them to reach customers,’ the White House said in a statement late on Thursday.

“One company elaborated that this deprives consumers of the ability to find the products and services that best match their needs,” it added.

Earlier this week, media reports claimed that tech titans are concerned about the new antitrust legislation, with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai personally “calling and meeting with Senators” to urge them to oppose the proposed legislation.

It only applies to the world’s largest technology companies, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook’s Meta, and Alphabet’s Google.

These platforms would be prohibited from engaging in practises such as biassing search results in their favour, limiting rivals’ access to platform data, and competing with non-public data from customers.


About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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