How new antitrust payments might hit Amazon, Apple, Fb and Google

US lawmakers target big tech.

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Big tech is a big goal. US lawmakers last week unveiled a series of five bills designed to curb so-called “unregulated power” in Silicon Valley. If passed, the law would mean the biggest change to antitrust law in decades.

While the legislation would affect all businesses, the legislature clearly had four in mind. Rep. Ken Buck, a Republican from Colorado who is the senior member of the House of Representatives Antitrust Subcommittee, was not shy about giving names.

Continue reading: What the proposed antitrust law could mean for Big Tech … and you

“Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google have put power over innovation, harming American businesses and consumers,” Buck said in a statement. “These companies have maintained their monopoly power in the online marketplace by using a variety of anti-competitive behaviors to stifle competition.”

Apple and Amazon did not respond to requests for comment. Facebook and Google declined to comment.

These are the five bills:

The bills still have a long way to go before they can become law. But this is how they could affect Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google when they go into effect.

Amazon

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act seems to target Amazon directly, although it would likely affect Apple and Google as well. The law would restrict how the e-commerce giant can advertise its own products like AmazonBasics against competing products in its search results. The bill would also make it difficult for Amazon to use third-party data to create competing items.

The bill states that an e-commerce platform cannot require other companies to purchase additional products in order to receive “preferred status or placement,” something that a phone accessory maker criticized Amazon. David Barnett, CEO of PopSockets, testified in Congress last year that Amazon will require its company to purchase a $ 2 million ad before Amazon removes counterfeit versions of PopSockets products from its website. Amazon has denied the claim.

– Laura Hautala. from CNET

Apple

Apple’s App Store is a target of proposed legislation, specifically the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Ending Platform Monopolies Act. Critics have already criticized the App Store for being anti-competitive as it is the only place iPhone and iPad users are allowed to download apps for their devices. Apple also requires developers to use its in-app payment processing service and pay a commission of up to 30% on all sales in the App Store, including streaming music subscriptions.

The Ending Platform Monopolies Act could affect Apple’s free Pages, Keynote, and Numbers apps, which compete directly with Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. It could also threaten Apple’s stranglehold on in-app purchases.

According to CNBC, the App Store is said to have had total sales of around $ 64 billion last year. The estimate includes both Apple and developer revenues. (Apple does not disclose detailed financial information for the App Store.)

– Ian Sherr. from CNET

Facebook

The Platform Competition and Opportunities Act would prevent Facebook and similar platforms from engulfing competition threats, a practice the giant social network is accused of. For example, Facebook bought Instagram, the photo-focused social media site, in 2012 instead of competing with it. Facebook has long been accused of copying, killing, or acquiring its competition.

The Access Act seems to target the difficulty people encounter when trying to move data, such as their friends list, to other social networks. Legislators have already complained about Facebook’s control of user data.

– Queenie Wong from CNET

Google

At least three of the bills could have far-reaching consequences for Google, which is owned by Alphabet. The Ending Platform Monopolies Act, which bans owning companies that create a “conflict of interest,” could mean Google will have to sell YouTube because it owns the search engine that displays videos to people.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act’s ban on “self-preference” would likely impact Google’s search business. The company has already been accused of displaying its own shopping and travel content in front of competitors in the search results. Any law targeting Google’s search and advertising business is a threat to the company’s lifeblood as it generates the majority of its approximately $ 180 billion in annual revenue. The act could also impact Google’s Play Store, where users can get apps for the dominant Android operating system.

Another bill, the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, could hinder Google’s growth. Legislation makes it difficult for a giant like Google to get regulatory approval to buy businesses, which means deals like the 2008 purchase of DoubleClick that turned Google into an advertising giant would be scrutinized. The same goes for the 2006 buyout of YouTube, which is now the dominant video platform in the world. And since Google is trying to expand into other companies, future acquisitions could be dismissed as anti-competitive.

– Richard Nieva. from CNET

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