Senators aim to limit merger options in latest push to regulate big tech

A new bill introduced before the US Senate could limit the ability of big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook to buy smaller companies.

Introduced by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel, and GOP Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas, a member of the panel, the Opportunity Act and Platform Competition would give the government greater power to prevent mergers that it believes violate antitrust laws. Under the new rules, these companies will be forced to prove to a judge that the agreement supports market competition.

“Competition is crucial to protecting workers and consumers and fostering innovation. But today, we’re increasingly seeing companies choosing to buy their rivals over competition,” Klobuchar said. know in a statement.

She went on to say, “This bipartisan act will put an end to those anticompetitive acquisitions by making it harder for dominant digital platforms to eliminate competition and enhance their market power.” The time has passed to solve the problem of national monopolies and modernize antitrust laws for the digital economy.”

As Big Tech continues to grow in its dominance, legislators are united around the goal of curbing its power. Above, an illustration photo taken in London on December 18, 2020, showing the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on mobile phones and laptop screens.
Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP via Getty Images

This measure would apply only to the industry’s largest units. For a company to be under its jurisdiction, it must have “at least 50,000,000 monthly active users in the United States or 100,000 monthly active business users”. The companies must also have a market capitalization of $600 billion and be considered “an important trading partner for other businesses.”

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Klobuchar has been introduced to other bipartisan bills aimed at curbing the power of Big Tech, including — with GOP Senators Chuck Grassley and John Kennedy — the US Online Choice and Innovation Act. Ky. The bill was introduced to prevent Big Tech from using their algorithms to advantage their own products and repel outside vendors.

In August, she was part of a bipartisan trio — along with Democrat Richard Blumenthal in Connecticut and Republican Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee — that introduced the Open App Market Act, a measure aimed at frees app developers from the payment processing system imposed on them and Apple by Google and Apple. While Democrats and Republicans continue to be drawn into partisan polarization on issues like social spending and abortion care, control of Big Tech seems to be a topic they can unite. conclude.

“Big Tech companies have been buying out competitors to crush their competition, expand their monopoly market share, and hurt working Americans. That’s bad for America,” Cotton said. in a statement. “Under this bill, the biggest tech monopolies would have a responsibility to demonstrate that further acquisitions are legitimate and good for the American people.”

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