Technology

DOJ endorses antitrust legislation aimed at Big Tech

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The Department of Justice sent letters to bipartisan lawmakers on the House and Senate Judiciary committees endorsing antitrust proposals that aim to block tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products. 

“If enacted, we believe that this legislation has the potential to have a positive effect on dynamism in digital markets going forward. Our future global competitiveness depends on innovators and entrepreneurs having the ability to access markets free from dominant incumbents that impede innovation, competition, resiliency, and widespread prosperity,” acting Assistant Attorney General Peter Hyun wrote in the letters, copies of which were obtained by The Hill. 

The letters were sent to top members of the Judiciary committees and the antitrust subcommittees. The letter to senators was first reported by The Wall Street Journal

It marks the Biden administration’s most direct endorsement of the American Online Innovation and Choice Act. 

The legislation would block dominant online companies, determined by user base and revenue, from preferring their own goods or discriminating against rival products on their platforms. The definition would likely mean the bill would apply to Amazon, Apple, Meta and Google. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the proposal in a bipartisan vote in January, and the House Judiciary Committee advanced a version of the bill in bipartisan vote in June as part of a raft of antitrust bills. 

Tech giants and industry groups representing them have lobbied heavily against the legislation. But relatively smaller tech companies, including Yelp, Sonos and Basecamp, have backed the proposal as a way to level the market.

Despite advancing out of committees with bipartisan support, the fate of the bill is still rocky. 

During January’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, even lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who voted in favor of advancing the bill raised concerns about the legislation they said they wanted to see addressed before supporting it on the floor.

Tags Amazon American Innovation and Choice Online Act Apple Basecamp Big tech Google META Sonos United States antitrust law Yelp

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