Saturday, July 24, 2021

US House will mark up & modify antitrust legislation bills in late June

The U.S. House Judiciary Committee will soon begin reviewing five sweeping bills that could target Big Tech with increased antitrust regulations and enforcement.

According to Reuters, The House’s Judiciary Committee antitrust panel will begin marking up the bills, considering changes, and deciding whether the full House should vote on the legislation. That process will begin the week of June 21.

Earlier in June, the U.S. House of Representatives introduced five pieces of antitrust legislation that could change the landscape of the technology industry by introducing new competition rules and increasing funding for enforcement.

One of those bills would make it illegal for tech companies to operate businesses that could create a conflict of interest — such as Amazon selling products on its own marketplace. Other bills would ban companies from acquiring rising rivals and would make it easier for consumers to switch to competing platforms.

Two bills, which have attracted far less scrutiny, would bolster the capabilities and funding of top antitrust enforcement agencies in the U.S.

The introduction of the bills follows a 16-month investigation carried out by the House’s antitrust subcommittee. In October 2020, the committee concluded that Big Tech’s power is monopolistic, and it began reviewing potential mitigations in 2021.

Targets of the legislation could include Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple. The Cupertino tech giant, specifically, has faced increasing scrutiny for its App Store practices and policies — including an ongoing legal dispute with Epic Games over its 30% cut of app and in-app purchases.

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