The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a Thursday markup of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act offered by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). The lobbying effort by Big Tech companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is personally lobbying against the legislation, is picking up significantly.
Lawmakers on the left and right, for different reasons, are lining up to impose new antitrust restrictions on the biggest of the U.S tech giants, and there’s a chance it could happen. It’s not guaranteed, but there are some interesting political crosscurrents at the moment.
Apple CEO Tim Cook and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai have been calling and meeting with senators on the Judiciary panel, urging them to oppose this new legislation, according to multiple Senate aides. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has circulated a letter urging lawmakers to vote no. A number of the major tech players – Microsoft, Google, Twitter, Apple, Spotify and Amazon – have all disclosed that they’re lobbying on the proposal…
The legislation – which covers companies with a market capitalization of more than $550 billion and have 50 million monthly online users or 100,000 businesses – only applies to Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Microsoft. These companies would be barred from “favoring their own products or services, disadvantaging rivals, or discriminating among businesses that use their platforms in a manner that would materially harm competition on the platform.” Other provisions would prohibit “requiring a business to buy a dominant platform’s goods or services for preferred placement on its platform” or using its own data against a business in order to gain an advantage.
MacDailyNews Note: According to Punchbowl News, the odds of the getting approved by Judiciary are very good, but its ability to get through the full Senate is another matter. “It’s worth noting that the House Judiciary Committee’s version of this legislation was approved more than six months ago but has never made it to the floor.”
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is cosponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
The full text of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act is available here.
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