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New antitrust bill aims to stop Big Tech from putting rivals at a disadvantage

US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust and Consumer Rights, speaks during a hearing on “Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers ”in Washington, DC, United States, September 21, 2021.

Ting Shen | Swimming pool | Reuters

Senator Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust Laws, said Thursday that she would soon introduce a major antitrust bill targeting Big Tech alongside the ranking member of the Judicial Committee Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which shares a name and general characteristics with a bill introduced by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust President David Cicillin, DI, would ban dominant online platforms from engaging discriminatory behavior. This could include exercising their power as a gatekeeper to disadvantage their rivals or to favor their own products over others.

Cicillin’s version of the bill was rejected by the House Judiciary Committee this summer.

The bill would have profound implications for companies like Amazon, Apple and Google, which all run their own product or information markets. These companies have been accused of ranking their own products higher than those of their competitors in an attempt to generate more profit for themselves.

Third-party sellers on Amazon, for example, have suspected that the platform is ranking its own private label products similar to theirs. Travel or local search sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor have complained that Google unfairly lowers their links in search results in favor of premium placement of its Google Maps tool. The platforms have denied any misconduct and claim their decisions are based on determinations of what will be the best experience for users.

“Congresses and tech companies have a lot of work to do to make the internet better, safer, and healthier – but instead of doing so, this bill hammers away the tech products consumers love,” he said. writes Adam Kovacevich, CEO of Chamber of Progress, a center-left group backed by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, among others. “Stopping Amazon from selling Amazon Basics and banning Google Maps from its search results will do nothing to improve the internet for families.”

Klobuchar said in a statement that the bill would give consumers more choice.

“As Big Tech has grown and evolved over the years, our laws have not changed to keep up with and ensure that these companies compete fairly,” Grassley said in a statement. “Big tech should be held accountable if they behave in a discriminatory manner. Our bill will help create a level playing field and ensure that small businesses are able to compete with these platforms. “

So far, the bill includes Democratic co-sponsors Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Cory Booker, DN.J., and Republican co-sponsors Lindsey Graham, RS.C., John Kennedy, R-La., And Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo.

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