A pair of U.S. Democratic Senators have introduced a new bill that would impose harsher penalties on technology companies that engage in anticompetitive practices. The bill, dubbed the “Monopolization Deterrence Act,” was introduced by Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal.
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As detailed by Reuters, the bill would allow the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to impose fines up to 15 percent of a company’s United States revenue. In Apple’s case, that would be over $38 billion based on its United States revenue in 2018.
In a statement, Klobuchar, a Democratic hopeful for the 2020 presidential nomination, said that this legislation would hand down “serious financial consequences” in an effort to combat the “major monopoly problem” in the United States.
Meanwhile, Senator Elizabeth Warren has made breaking up big tech one of the tentpoles of her 2020 presidential campaign. Warren has strategically placed “Break up big tech” billboards throughout Silicon Valley, and has detailed her plan to break up Apple because of the App Store.
The bill from Klobuchar and Blumenthal comes as tech companies including Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook gear up for antitrust battles in the United States. Last month, all four of those companies testified in front of Congress as part of an inquiry into tech and competition.
Shortly after that, the Justice Department announced that it was opening a “broad antitrust” review into whether technology companies are “unlawfully stifling competition.” A report explained that the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission reached agreements to probe different tech companies for different activities. The Justice Department, for instance, has received clearance to probe whether Apple has engaged in “illegal monopolization tactics.”
For Apple, the primary anti-trust argument centers around the App Store, and the 15 to 30 percent cut it takes of revenue. Spotify has been a vocal opponent of this practice, but Apple has defended itself numerous times.
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