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

Posted:
in General Discussion edited June 18
The U.S. House Judiciary Committee will soon begin reviewing five sweeping bills that could target Big Tech with increased antitrust regulations and enforcement.

Credit: WikiMedia Commons
Credit: WikiMedia Commons


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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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 5
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,941member
    It sounds like the government did not realize they already have mechanism to keep companies from buying a competitor. All acquisition have to be approved by the FTC today. Either the legislators are stupid (high probability of that) or they just now realizing the government created this mess by allowing the acquisition in the first place (you think you have problem now wait to see the solution the government comes up with). They are now going to create another set of laws on top of the laws they failed to use properly in the first place to keep companies from buying competitors. That is going to work well.

    Apple never bought competitors (very smart on their part) they bough small start ups with technology solution ot help grow their core business or they grew the business organically which is also smart. The government it going to break up Apple by saying you got to big on your own so we want you smaller, they can not even point to any anti-competitive acquisitions they did.

    Does this mean Apple has to devest from it Chip Design division, it software development organizations, its retail stores, its online store, its streaming services, it wearable health business, where does the line get drawing. Keep in mind most all of this was home grown. It not like the days of Rockefeller who bough up every competitor up and down stream of his business so it controlled the entire value stream. BTW when the government broke up Standard oil it actually made more money for the Rockefellers, since they owns shares in all the pieces which all grew even larger since they provided services beyond just the Rockefeller businesses. 

    The rule use to be does the consumer pay more or loose benefits from a single company doing what they are doing, thus the term antitrust/anticompetitive. Today they are not looking at whether the consumer is harmed ie paying more or not having a choice, they looking at if company is just too big, since they can not prove a consumer pays more. We all know you pay more for an iPhone, but you can always buy a lower cost competitors phone. On Amazon you still have choice and the price is not the same so their is competition and many time the prices are lower than anywhere else so consumer are not paying more.
    edited June 16 beowulfschmidt
  • Reply 2 of 5
    KuyangkohKuyangkoh Posts: 679member
    maestro64 said:
    It sounds like the government did not realize they already have mechanism to keep companies from buying a competitor. All acquisition have to be approved by the FTC today. Either the legislators are stupid (high probability of that) or they just now realizing the government created this mess by allowing the acquisition in the first place (you think you have problem now wait to see the solution the government comes up with). They are now going to create another set of laws on top of the laws they failed to use properly in the first place to keep companies from buying competitors. That is going to work well.

    Apple never bought competitors (very smart on their part) they bough small start ups with technology solution ot help grow their core business or they grew the business organically which is also smart. The government it going to break up Apple by saying you got to big on your own so we want you smaller, they can not even point to any anti-competitive acquisitions they did.

    Does this mean Apple has to devest from it Chip Design division, it software development organizations, its retail stores, its online store, its streaming services, it wearable health business, where does the line get drawing. Keep in mind most all of this was home grown. It not like the days of Rockefeller who bough up every competitor up and down stream of his business so it controlled the entire value stream. BTW when the government broke up Standard oil it actually made more money for the Rockefellers, since they owns shares in all the pieces which all grew even larger since they provided services beyond just the Rockefeller businesses. 

    The rule use to be does the consumer pay more or loose benefits from a single company doing what they are doing, thus the term antitrust/anticompetitive. Today they are not looking at whether the consumer is harmed ie paying more or not having a choice, they looking at if company is just too big, since they can not prove a consumer pays more. We all know you pay more for an iPhone, but you can always buy a lower cost competitors phone. On Amazon you still have choice and the price is not the same so their is competition and many time the prices are lower than anywhere else so consumer are not paying more.
    Im not surprised, they wont in forced the existing law but they will keep making more laws to keep job relevance 
  • Reply 3 of 5
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,941member
    It looks like the bill will ban Apple from pre-install any of its own apps and services. This bill only applies to companies with a Market cap of $600B as you can see they are only targeting big companies not your local grocery stories so they can do what they like by limiting your chooses as long as you choose the store brand. 
  • Reply 4 of 5
    And why does this need to be limited to BigTech only or telecommunication like in the past? Why not financial services as well... or any other type of industry? Hostile acquisitions are everywhere. I was part of one in the past. Product killed for sake of inferior product from acquiring company. They would tell you different story out of fear.
  • Reply 5 of 5
    thttht Posts: 3,976member
    maestro64 said:
    It looks like the bill will ban Apple from pre-install any of its own apps and services. This bill only applies to companies with a Market cap of $600B as you can see they are only targeting big companies not your local grocery stories so they can do what they like by limiting your chooses as long as you choose the store brand. 
    Oh, the set of bills do far worse than this. There are provisions that prevent the platform owner from changing the platform, like an API, unless it is approved by a gov't approved committee. Ie, Object Capture would need to be approved by someone other than Apple. Swift concurrency has to be approved by someone other than Apple. Deprecating an API has to be approved by someone other than Apple.

    And the $600B market cap is utterly insane. Tesla's market cap has been hovering around $600B or more over the last 6 months. So, they don't count because they are not a "technology" company? Then, it's "market cap". Market cap is determined by the sales of a company's stock by various institutional investors. Literally, a bunch of rich white dudes sitting around doing nothing but buying and selling this or that company's abstracted parcels of ownership of a company.

    There's nothing stopping the market cap of all these companies down below $600B, yet they would still hold the same market power that they currently have. Ie, these bills are passed. Apple's market cap drops below $600B. What happens than?
    FileMakerFeller
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