On Friday, a bipartisan group of House members proposed legislation that could force tech giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and, Amazon to sell certain operations. The five proposed bills, including the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, are based on recommendations that the House’s antitrust panel decided after a 16-month bipartisan investigation into concerns surrounding the power of tech titans.
‘Ending Platform Monopolies Act’ could force tech giants like Apple and Amazon to sell certain operations
Following its thorough investigation, the House antitrust panel concluded that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and, Google hold monopoly power and that antitrust laws must be updated keeping digital markets in mind. While Democrats and Republicans disagreed on the solutions to the major problems they discovered, they did agree that reforms must be made to limit and better monitor the power of tech giants.
“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy,” Rep. David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) chairman of the House antitrust panel, said in a statement. “They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”
One of the new bills introduced on Friday, the Ending Platform Monopolies Act would make it unlawful for major tech giants to own or operate a business that presents a clear conflict of interest. The draft language of the bill says: “It shall be unlawful for a covered platform operator to own or control a line of business, other than the covered platform, when the covered platform’s ownership or control of that line of business gives rise to an irreconcilable conflict of interest.”
If passed, the Ending Platform Monopolies Act could be especially troubling for Apple and Amazon since both companies operate marketplaces that include their own products or apps that compete with other developers or sellers that ultimately rely on their platform. The Ending Platform Monopolies Act is sponsored by Vice-Chair Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash, and co-sponsored by Rep. Lance Gooden, R-Texas.
The bills will need to be voted on favorably by the Judiciary Committee before making their way to the full House. They would also need to be approved by the Senate before they could be signed into law by the president. If passed, all five bills would mark the modernization of decades-old competition laws while causing devastating impacts for the abovementioned tech titans.