Fresh details have surfaced on new legislation that could be proposed in the US House of Representatives as soon as today that’s set to take on the likes of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Called the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, the proposal contains a few bills including one that could regulate Apple’s App Store and more. The development comes after Congress spent almost the last year and a half investigating antitrust concerns in big tech.
Update 11:50 am PT: The new antitrust act has been officially introduced.
US House representatives have unveiled the Ending Platform Monopolies Act today – renamed as the American Choice and Innovation Online Act. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) shared a statement (via The Verge):
“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy. They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said in a statement Friday. “Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”
Spotify’s head of global affairs and chief legal officer Horatio Gutierrez also shared a statement on the act being officially unveiled and the company’s perspective on how it could impact Apple:
Gatekeeper platforms’ anticompetitive practices have gone unchecked for too long, stifling competition and threatening innovation. The introduction of The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is an important step in addressing anti-competitive conduct in the App Store ecosystem, and a clear sign that momentum has shifted as the world is waking up to the need to demand fair competition in the App economy. Spotify commends this bipartisan effort to ensure true consumer choice and a level playing field for all developers.
Reported by the Wall Street Journal, House lawmakers are ready to submit the bipartisan legislation proposal that could have a big impact on the US tech giants if passed.
Specifically for Apple, one of the bills in the new act “targets the ability of big tech companies to leverage their online platforms to favor their own products over competitors.”
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Seen in a draft of the proposal by the WSJ, the new act includes the following (but is subject to change):
It shall be unlawful for a covered platform operator to own or control a line of business, other than the covered platform, when the covered platform’s ownership or control of that line of business gives rise to an irreconcilable conflict of interest.
If eventually passed in the House and Senate, that could usher in the regulation of Apple’s App Store, Find My app, and more. That could possibly include legislators forcing Apple to split off its App Store.
One of WSJ’s sources says that “Each of the bills has both Republicans and Democrats signed onto it, with more expected to join once they are announced.” The bill would likely pass the House but we’ll have to wait and see if the Senate would see enough bipartisan support for the act.
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