The Department of Justice (DOJ) has sent letters to lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle, on both the House and Senate Judiciary committees, endorsing antitrust proposals that aim to block tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products.
“If enacted, we believe that this legislation has the potential to have a positive effect on dynamism in digital markets going forward. Our future global competitiveness depends on innovators and entrepreneurs having the ability to access markets free from dominant incumbents that impede innovation, competition, resiliency, and widespread prosperity,” acting Assistant Attorney General Peter Hyun wrote in the letters.
The letters were sent to top members of the Judiciary committees and the antitrust subcommittees. The letter to senators was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.
This communication marks the Biden administration’s most direct endorsement of the American Online Innovation and Choice Act, a piece of progressive legislation that has caused waves among tech sector analysts, businesses and observers, with deep divisions over those who support and those who oppose the act’s provisions, methods, or objectives.
The legislation would block dominant online companies, determined by user base and revenue, from preferring their own goods or discriminating against rival products on their platforms. The definition would likely mean the bill would apply to Amazon, Apple, Meta and Google, the so-called Tech Giants that have come to dominate much of our modern tech landscape.
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The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced the proposal in a bipartisan vote in January, and the House Judiciary Committee advanced a version of the bill in bipartisan vote in June as part of a raft of antitrust bills against Big Tech.
Tech giants and industry groups representing them have lobbied heavily against the legislation. But relatively smaller tech companies, including Yelp, Sonos and Basecamp, have backed the proposal as a way to level the market.
Despite advancing out of committees with bipartisan support, the fate of the bill is still rocky.
During January’s vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, even lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who voted in favor of advancing the bill raised concerns about the legislation they said they wanted to see addressed before supporting it on the floor.