Big Tech in Focus next week as a U.S. parliamentary panel vote on new competition laws

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The U.S. Parliament’s Judicial Committee will vote next week on recently proposed competition laws that include several Big Tech market power packages, committee chairman Jerry Nadler said Wednesday.

Five competition laws were tabled in the House of Representatives last week. They are put to the committee to consider the changes and the panel then votes to decide if the plenary should vote on the measures.

Two of the bills presented last week deal with giant companies such as Amazon and the alphabet Google, by creating a platform for other companies and then competing with the same companies.

These bills – one of which would force companies to sell companies – have provoked the most opposition. Some tech advocacy groups have said they could mean the end of popular campaigns Amazon Prime free shipping and iMessage in iPhone equipment.

David Cicilline, representative of the Subcommittee on Competition Law, spoke on the crisis Apple, Facebookand Google. “These modern-day robbery barons are growing in power by anti-competitive means,” he said at a news conference supported by fellow Republicans and Democrats.

Ken Buck, the High Representative for Competition Law, said he was skeptical about the need to enforce additional competition law, but had changed his mind. “I think you’re going to see more Republican support as people understand it more,” he said.

In addition to the two invoices aimed at conflicting interests of shipbuilding companies, the third bill would require the platform to refrain from mergers unless it can demonstrate that the acquired company is not in competition with any product or service on which the platform is located. The fourth would require platforms to allow users to transfer their data elsewhere, including to a competing company.

MEPs also put forward a fifth bill, a measure that has already passed the Senate, that would increase the budget of competition law enforcement and make the companies planning the largest mergers pay more. Observers have said this bill was the most likely of the five laws.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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