June 13, 2022

U.S. bill to rein in Big Tech backed by dozens of companies including Spotify and Yelp

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U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), chair of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, speaks during a hearing on “Big Data, Big Questions: Implications for Competition and Consumers” in Washington, D.C., U.S., September 21, 2021.
Ting Shen | Pool | Reuters

Dozens of companies and business organizations sent a letter to U.S. Congress members on Monday, urging them to support a bill that would rein in the biggest tech companies such as Amazon and Alphabet’s Google.

Last week, Democratic U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar and lawmakers from both parties said they had the Senate votes needed to pass legislation that would prevent tech platforms, including Apple and Facebook, from favoring their own businesses.

Companies supporting the measure, which include Yelp, Sonos, DuckDuckGo and Spotify, called it a “moderate and sensible bill aimed squarely at well-documented abuses by the very largest online platforms.”

Other signatories included the American Booksellers Association, the American Independent Business Alliance, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and Kelkoo Group. Amazon.com, the Chamber of Commerce and others oppose the measure. 

Supporters urged lawmakers to pass the bill, saying it would modernize antitrust laws so smaller companies can compete.

Last week, Klobuchar said she believed she had the 60 Senate votes needed to end debate and move to a vote on final passage. There is a similar bill in the House of Representatives.

“It’s no surprise that Yelp and Spotify like the bill since it’s designed to help them. But senators are telling us that they just aren’t hearing their voters demanding changes to Amazon Basics and Google Maps,” the pro-tech Chamber of Progress said in a statement.

The tech giants have said the bill would imperil popular consumer products like Google Maps and Amazon Basics and make it harder for the companies to protect their users’ security and privacy.

Carl Szabo of NetChoice said the pressure being exerted to get a vote on the bill was a sign that it did not have enough support to pass. “This is a drowning bill’s last gasp for air,” he said.

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