House Judiciary advances all bills in sweeping antitrust legislative package

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The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has approved all six pieces of legislation in a sweeping antitrust package targeting Big Tech, advancing the bills to the full House of Representatives.

Credit: WikiMedia Commons
Credit: WikiMedia Commons


On Thursday, the committee narrowly advanced the sixth and final bill, the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, in a 21-20 vote. The proposal would bar technology companies from selling products on a platform they control, such as Amazon selling first-party goods on its own marketplace.

In the span of nearly 29 hours, the House Judiciary Committee debated and approved all six bills introduced in an antitrust package earlier in June. Support for the bills has been bipartisan, and votes were not along party lines.

Some of the other bills in the package include the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, which would ban tech giants from acquiring rising rivals, and the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition bill, which would make it easier for consumers to port their data from one platform to another.

Two other bills approved on Wednesday would increase the budget of the U.S.'s top antitrust enforcement agencies and allow antitrust cases brought by state attorneys general to be kept in a court of their choosing.

The approval of the bills by the panel now means that they're up for a vote before the full House of Representatives.

Apple has voiced opposition to the legislative package, claiming that they'd harm consumers and stifle innovation. Apple CEO Tim Cook also personally called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other lawmakers in an attempt to sway opinion against the bills.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 597member
    Hopefully this will become law soon.  Antitrust law in the US is far too weak, and companies like Apple take advantage of that to abuse consumers and their own channel partners.

    Time for a smackdown.
    elijahg
  • Reply 2 of 19
    I doubt the Ending Platform Monopolies Act will survive Constitutional judicial review if it ever became law. We have already seen the Courts push back on narrowly defining a particular product a monopoly in of itself without reference to the market and the judge in the Epic vs. Apple trial had the same sentiment. 

    Secondly, barring a tech company from selling wares on their own platform is incredibly silly and likely wouldn’t survive either. And I question whether the gov’t could prove a compelling public interest to force private companies to change their viable and otherwise legal business model. 
    hammeroftruth
  • Reply 3 of 19
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 134member
    Soon they’ll be telling Apple they can’t sell their products in their own retail stores. One of the most asinine things to come out of Congress.
    bloggerblog
  • Reply 4 of 19
    am8449am8449 Posts: 365member
    We certainly need to reign in big companies that abuse their power, but we need laws that are targeted and nuanced. Maybe Apple should more actively lobby and interact with Congress to make this happen. Leaving it up to un/mis-informed, unsavvy lawmakers is a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Reply 5 of 19
    Governments come and go. Politicians come and go. Stupidity remains.
    bloggerbloghammeroftruthArchStanton
  • Reply 6 of 19
    What about grocery stores selling their own branded goods?  /s  smh
    edited June 24 hammeroftruth
  • Reply 7 of 19
    There is absolutely no way Apple is going to skate past the myriad of anti-trust investigations and changes in law around the world with regards to their App Store.  They better have a plan-B (i.e. more than saying security this, privacy that) or they will be caught completely flat-footed.

    Personally I will stick with the App Store, but the trending on this is not favorable to Apple and they better realize this.
    elijahg
  • Reply 8 of 19
    Considering how close the votes were, I don’t see any of these bills advancing anywhere near their current state. As one Senator already stated, why isn’t Microsoft included? It’s almost like the bills were crafted to target specific companies and not specific practices.
    bloggerblogtmay
  • Reply 9 of 19
    JapheyJaphey Posts: 851member
    There is absolutely no way Apple is going to skate past the myriad of anti-trust investigations and changes in law around the world with regards to their App Store.  They better have a plan-B (i.e. more than saying security this, privacy that) or they will be caught completely flat-footed.

    Personally I will stick with the App Store, but the trending on this is not favorable to Apple and they better realize this.
    I’ll be sticking with the App Store too, but c’mon. Do you seriously question whether they have a plan-b? I’ll bet anything that they have a plan c, d, and e to go with it. How stupid would someone have to be to leave the fate of a 2 trillion dollar company to the whims of a bunch of fickle politicians?
    ArchStanton
  • Reply 10 of 19
    riverkoriverko Posts: 128member
    Considering how close the votes were, I don’t see any of these bills advancing anywhere near their current state. As one Senator already stated, why isn’t Microsoft included? It’s almost like the bills were crafted to target specific companies and not specific practices.
    Because it should target Big Tech, not Big Mess companies? /s
  • Reply 11 of 19
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,904member
    theLedger said:
    I doubt the Ending Platform Monopolies Act will survive Constitutional judicial review if it ever became law. We have already seen the Courts push back on narrowly defining a particular product a monopoly in of itself without reference to the market and the judge in the Epic vs. Apple trial had the same sentiment. 

    Secondly, barring a tech company from selling wares on their own platform is incredibly silly and likely wouldn’t survive either. And I question whether the gov’t could prove a compelling public interest to force private companies to change their viable and otherwise legal business model. 
    I'm not so sure about that.

    If Apple or anyone else's platform is deemed to be a monopoly or impacting competition negatively, even current legislation in most countries will prevent the seller of wares from selling them on its own platform.

    That's why, in many countries, the company responsible for developing and maintaining rail infrastructure cannot run services that run on it. The same applies to electricity generation and distribution vs commercialisation. Even in telecom infrastructure, many countries require companies to share infrastructure with each other to avoid duplicity etc. All regulated by government and ultimately, in the name of competition and benefitting the consumer. 
  • Reply 12 of 19
    jkeevenjkeeven Posts: 2member
    Would this legislation also bar Epic from selling any of its games on their store? Don't they have a monopoly control on what it sells on that store?
    rob53
  • Reply 13 of 19
    The US has a tech edge over all nations in the world and the world is trying hard to overtake us. So we watch the Koreans fund Samsung into a global powerhouse.  China buys our tech companies and export our engineering - legalized stealing.  Now they are pushing past us in space. But our politicians just want to destroy our nations tech leads in the name of public interest as to reduce our global influence.  Let Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce and other US companies dominate globally.   I am proud that we do!!!   What other industries do our politicians want to hand over to the rest of the world???  Idiots.  Support our industry and stop worrying about app stores when people have a choice to buy non Apple phones.  They should focus on social impacts of morons using social media and low IQ among politicians.    That would be worthwhile fixing. 
    rob53
  • Reply 14 of 19
    The US has a tech edge over all nations in the world and the world is trying hard to overtake us. So we watch the Koreans fund Samsung into a global powerhouse.  China buys our tech companies and export our engineering - legalized stealing.  Now they are pushing past us in space. But our politicians just want to destroy our nations tech leads in the name of public interest as to reduce our global influence.  Let Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce and other US companies dominate globally.   I am proud that we do!!!   What other industries do our politicians want to hand over to the rest of the world???  Idiots.  Support our industry and stop worrying about app stores when people have a choice to buy non Apple phones.  They should focus on social impacts of morons using social media and low IQ among politicians.    That would be worthwhile fixing. 

    This has been my thought too. The US organically produces these world leading tech companies. But It’s a world that is increasingly competitive and the US politicians want to find a way to stop US companies from being leaders? GTFO, That is knee jerk politician brilliant stupidity in action. 

    Anti trust laws exist. Predatory laws exist. Monopolistic behavior laws exist. Harm to the consumer laws exist. Lord knows civil court litigation exists for a business or third party harmed. 
    Ok, they want to scrutinize acquisitions more closely? Great.  They want to add strength to the enforcement of those existing laws? Great. They want to write specific legislation to tear down the great American tech companies of the world? GTFO,

    What we have has actually produced amazingly and worked out quite well. For example the smartphone market is competitive and offers two distinct choices. This competition has advanced smartphone and new peripheral technology incredibly. Comms, computing, various services,general internet access, health, its incredible in just a handful of years what we have. So let’s screw with that, really? 

    Of these laws there doesn’t appear much to likely impact Apple except the App Store. As someone said above Apple will have plan B and C.  But they’re going after Amazon? Have prices not been very competitive for consumers? Delivery of goods are very efficient? Urgh maybe it is the consumer has benefitted too well and this has to be stopped by politicians in DC, people who are in no way the best brightest or most honest among us. 
  • Reply 15 of 19
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 5,904member
    The US has a tech edge over all nations in the world and the world is trying hard to overtake us. So we watch the Koreans fund Samsung into a global powerhouse.  China buys our tech companies and export our engineering - legalized stealing.  Now they are pushing past us in space. But our politicians just want to destroy our nations tech leads in the name of public interest as to reduce our global influence.  Let Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Salesforce and other US companies dominate globally.   I am proud that we do!!!   What other industries do our politicians want to hand over to the rest of the world???  Idiots.  Support our industry and stop worrying about app stores when people have a choice to buy non Apple phones.  They should focus on social impacts of morons using social media and low IQ among politicians.    That would be worthwhile fixing. 
    'Let US tech companies dominate globally'

    That's fine, with a level playing field, but it isn't level, is it?

    More and more investigations are highlighting the harm done by monopolistic and anti-competitive behaviour.

    It seems you're ok with that, as long as it's the US that comes out on top.

    Don't expect any other country to agree with you. 

    Your understanding of 'stealing' is a little off. The US had a history of stealing technologies. You could even argue it was built on 'stealing'. 

    I don't see how China can buy your tech companies and export your engineering, either.

    Take a look a patent applications from US companies. A huge amount have Chinese names tied to them as many were actually from China. Students that went to the US to study and were picked up by US companies. Others were 'imported' directly from abroad. They represent a sizeable chunk drawn by salaries and investigative opportunities. 

    Again, it seems that's fine with you, as long as the US comes out on top.

    I have no issue with that. You have US interests at heart but perhaps those interests are blinding you to reality.

    Time is up for the US at the top of the technology hill. That is beyond doubt.

    Other nations are catching up (or are already ahead) and can offer great opportunities to candidates in engineering and science. 

    The world has changed and, as nations push for technological independence, the influence of US technology companies will wane.

    But none of that is really relevant here. No company should be allowed to shape the future using its dominant position and worse, abusing it.

    Better protections are required as the current legislative situation is partly to blame for the current predicament. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 16 of 19
    iadlibiadlib Posts: 84member
    I would be shocked if any of these were signed into law. I have virtually zero faith in government to understand the problem let alone do something about it that would be beneficial to the general public. 

    If it does pass, I wonder if they’ll ban target from selling target branded products in target stores. It’s basically the same concept. Target but a platform/brand and will want to capitalize on it, because no shit Sherlock. 

    The sad part is that some store brands are better than not, for example Costco’s Kirkland brand. 
  • Reply 17 of 19
    None of these bills do anything useful as far as I can see. I want Apple to compete with other developers on their own App Store. I just want them to do it on a level playing field. Apple's apps, including the built-in apps, should use the same SDK and have the same restrictions that all other app developers are forced to follow.
  • Reply 18 of 19
    thrangthrang Posts: 893member
    darkvader said:
    Hopefully this will become law soon.  Antitrust law in the US is far too weak, and companies like Apple take advantage of that to abuse consumers and their own channel partners.

    Time for a smackdown.
    Yeah, Apple abuses their customers sooooo much that then can barely sell an iPhone anymore.... oh wait....

    The issues that need to be addressed are the arbitrary and inequitable nature of suppression of speech on social media platforms, given the protections the Section 230 law provides them. Either publish everything and continue to enjoy the protection, or strike down 230 and then they can do what they want... within the law.

    Apple should be heralded as the most innovative company hit this planet in decades, with products and services people desire - thus their tremendous success and customer satisfaction rankings. If people were "abused," they would look for alternatives. Windows Phone failed because Microsoft could NOT convince users to switch to their ecosystem. Others have come and gone as well. Android in all its flavors and device manufacturers are there too...

     It really is lunacy to consider harming Apple's business just because they are successful.

    Ultimately user engagement is the market (wow much time, usefulness, and positivity a user gains from spending time with an ecosystem). And for that, there are plenty of competitive forces that Apple must deliver against. 

    So no, the only smackdown should be the heads of dopey politicians who only look at high company valuation as bad and onerous, without having the capacity to consider the broader market and consumer desire. People buy Apps because they WANT the ecosystem, stability, security, and interoperability they can provide.

    Let someone else go and build a better mousetrap.  There are lots of companies with deep pockets out there. Go do it. 

    Did I mention Microsoft???





    tmay
  • Reply 19 of 19
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,647member
    It's interesting all the activity around anti-trust but I haven't seen any mention of activity towards getting rid of all the tax breaks these companies and billionaires get so they don't have to pay taxes. Why don't we start there and see what impact it has on supposed anti-trust abuse. Cut into the bottom line and they won't be able to buy/steal other companies. Every day I see news of one company buying another one. Are these laws going to apply to every company or just the ones governments want to steal money from?

    Just saw a video that says 2/3 of Congress took big pharma money in 2020. Legal brides? What is Congress doing about this? Absolutely nothing! When I look at the attacks on Apple and others someone is lobbying for this, it doesn't just happen out of the goodness of a Congressional member's heart, someone is paying them. I think we need a non-Congressional investigation into lobbying, where this money is actually coming from (US, overseas?), and which bills are being pushed--or not pushed--by every member of Congress. It would be naive to think every decision in Congress has to do with actual laws, which many times were enacted by bribes in the first place. Anyone who thinks our government is totally honest and looks out for the best interest of all the people needs to have their head examined.
    edited June 26
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