U.S. antitrust bill on brink of defeat

Legislation pushed by some in the U.S. Congress claiming to rein in the nation’s biggest internet companies – the so-called “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” – is on the brink of defeat with time running out to pass major legislation ahead of midterm elections.

U.S. Capitol Building
The United States Capitol Building

Anna Edgerton and Emily Birnbaum for Bloomberg News:

After a nearly two-year battle, the bill is now at a critical juncture as the Senate returns this week for a final stretch before the November midterms. Backers of the measure swear they have the necessary votes, yet it’s unclear if they do, and the Senate will be busy with other must-pass spending legislation.

The view that momentum for the bill is slowing is based on conversations with nearly two dozen of its supporters and critics — including policy experts, lobbyists, congressional aides and advocates. One Hill staffer summed it up as a do-or-die moment.

“If supporters of this bill had enough votes, it wouldn’t be a bill, it would be a law,” said Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which represents the major tech companies.

Although clipping the wings of tech giants through antitrust reform had support from both Republicans and Democrats during this Congress, a likely GOP majority in the House next year is expected to focus on allegations that internet platforms squelch conservative viewpoints…

The Senate is planning to be in session for just two weeks in October before midterm elections.

“I don’t see it going to the floor,” said Michael Petricone, senior vice president of government affairs at the Consumer Technology Association, a trade group that counts Amazon, Google and Facebook among its members.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote in JUly, describing the prospects of these Senate and House bills passing as tenuous (“if the bills ever come up for vote, much less become law”):

No one is forced to use an iPhone.

Apple does not have a monopoly position in smartphones. Therefore, Apple should not be subject to so-called antitrust laws.

Mobile Operating System Market Share Worldwide (StatCounter, August 2022):

• Android: 71.52%
• iOS: 27.83%

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