Here are 5 ways the US government is taking on Big Tech

5 proposed bills from US lawmakers will take on Big Tech -- Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google -- by making it harder for them to acquire new businesses and force them to even the playing field.


June 14, 2021

Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Big changes could be coming to Big Tech.

Last Friday, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers rolled out 5 draft bills to take on the online dominance of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google, which are collectively worth ~$7T.

The bills have a long way to go…

… before President Biden signs them into law, but they give a taste of where antitrust law is headed.

Here are details from the 5 bills, per CNBC:

  • Ending Platform Monopolies Act: This very literally named bill would prevent any platform with a market cap of $600B+ (*cough* Big Tech *cough*) and 50m+ monthly US users from operating businesses that clearly compete with users on its platform. This law targets the huge platforms of Amazon (Marketplace) and Apple (App Store).
  • American Choice and Innovation Online Act: This bill prohibits Big Tech from privileging its own products and services over those of its competitors (e.g., Google placing its reviews over Yelp). Also, Big Tech can’t use data on its platform to create competing products (e.g., Amazon knocking off a best-selling consumer item).
  • Platform Competition and Opportunity Act: This bill shifts the burden of proof onto Big Tech to prove that any future acquisitions are not unlawful. At present, the US government is tasked with doing that, and has had to look at unwinding acquisitions it deemed anticompetitive (e.g., Facebook acquiring Instagram).
  • Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act: This bill forces Big Tech to make data portability and interoperability more convenient for users, so they can switch between platforms as they wish.
  • Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act: When large mergers are proposed, a fee is paid to the FTC and Department of Justice to look into the deal. This bill will raise that fee to better fund these departments, which are tasked with tackling antitrust issues.

Somewhat ironically, Microsoft — the OG tech antitrust poster child — has largely stayed out of the crosshairs even as it spent ~$30B on acquisition over the past year… and just announced its Windows 11 operating system.

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Psst

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