By Alice Seeley
On March 28, the Justice Department announced its endorsement of U.S. antitrust bill the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act.“ This antitrust bill forbids major digital companies such as Amazon, Apple, and Google from favoring their own products and services over competitors.
The bill would extend current U.S. antitrust laws and clarify what Congress defines as anti-competitive and illegal behavior. The bill was first introduced after a report found that major tech companies such as Apple engaged in deeply disturbing anti-competitive behavior.
The DOJ’s letter was addressed to the bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee and stated, “the Department views the rise of dominant platforms as presenting a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy.”
The Department said the Big Tech companies’ dominant positions give them unchecked power to determine the fate of other businesses and that restricting the conduct of these companies would benefit the overall market.
Not surprisingly, Amazon, Google, and Apple oppose the antitrust bill. The companies stated the bill would make it harder to offer their popular services and argued that it is fair for e-marketplaces, search engines, and app stores to profit from their popularity. These companies also argued the antitrust bill could have harmful effects on national security and user privacy. Apple fears that the bill will impact how it does business on its most popular products by making iOS more open to alternative App Store payments.
The bill has not yet been voted on the floor of either chamber, although it did pass a January Senate Committee vote. The Justice Department’s endorsement of the bill increases the chances of it being passed, but there is still a chance it will not be passed.