New Antitrust Legislation Gaining Bipartisan Support

Legislation to bar internet companies from favoring their own products on their platforms is gaining more support in what could be a potential threat to the business models of tech giants like Amazon and Apple.

Bipartisan Senate legislation announced Thursday, October 14, would prohibit dominant platforms from favoring their own products or services, a practice known as self-preferencing. It would also bar these dominant platforms from discriminating among business users in a way that materially harms competition.

In particular, the bill would prohibit a range of practices that are harmful to businesses and consumers, such as requiring a business to buy a dominant platform’s goods or services in exchange for preferred placement; misusing a business’s data in order to compete against it; biasing search results in favor of the dominant firm; and unfairly preventing another business’s product from inter-operating with the dominant platform.

The House Judiciary Committee passed a similar bill earlier this year, although in some respects the Senate bill would be somewhat tougher.

The Senate bill is being sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar (Democrat – Minnesota), chairwoman of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the Judiciary Committee’s top Republican.

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