Big Tech targeted in proposed antitrust bills, aiming to break up the likes of Amazon...

Joe White

Posts: 69   +0
Staff
Why it matters: House lawmakers introduced new antitrust bills on Friday which could change the tech industry as we know it. The bills address anticompetitive practice and – if passed – could have huge ramifications for the dealings of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon.

Collectively called “A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, and Choice,” the proposed bills were introduced following over a year of investigation into the competitive practices of Big Tech companies.

Representative David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, led the investigation. He said: “Unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”

This agenda initially consists of five proposed bills, each of which target anticompetitive digital practice in a different way. One bill would prohibit companies from giving their own services and products preference over those of their rivals – like how Google boosts its own products in search results, or Apple does it on the App Store.

Another would allow the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission to force big companies, like Amazon, to break off parts of their business that could create a conflict of interest, like Amazon Basics.

A further bill would block large companies from buying up smaller competitors, in the way Facebook did with Instagram back in 2012.

Although the investigation into Big Tech was a bipartisan effort, it’s worth noting that Democrats and Republicans currently seem to disagree on the solution to some of the problems they uncovered. It’s also unclear how many members support each of the new bills – although at least one Democrat and one Republican had signed on to each of the new measures by the end of play on Friday.

What is clear is that the proposed changes could reshape the tech industry and change the way its biggest actors operate. It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 717   +1,281
I've noticed that Microsoft is remarkably absent from this list and I'm yet to see anything that would disqualify only them while still qualifying the rest of the companies named: They certainly push Azure based products quite a bit and never even mention AWS ones, they have bought smaller competitors before and have had pretty significant conflict of interests as well.

So just to entertain some crazy notion here about the politicians presenting this I do have to wonder if we would be able to find out that they're on Microsoft payroll via generous lobbying contributions.
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 5,032   +5,641
THE US Congress behaves more and more like the PRC every day.

Ironically, the PRC behaves more and more like the constitutionally limited US government every day.

No wonder the PRC economy is moving forward and America's isn't.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,723   +3,730
One thing that concerns me about this is that YouTube isn't profitable. If you split Google from YouTube then it will likely disappear
 

Bulllee

Posts: 194   +126
At the end of the day surely money does make the world go round.
Nothing new there then I guess.
 

VitalyT

Posts: 5,703   +5,574
Program Bezos has grown beyond your control. Soon he will spread through this city, as he spread through the system. You cannot stop him. But I can.
 

maxxcool7421

Posts: 28   +52
I've noticed that Microsoft is remarkably absent from this list and I'm yet to see anything that would disqualify only them while still qualifying the rest of the companies named: They certainly push Azure based products quite a bit and never even mention AWS ones, they have bought smaller competitors before and have had pretty significant conflict of interests as well.

So just to entertain some crazy notion here about the politicians presenting this I do have to wonder if we would be able to find out that they're on Microsoft payroll via generous lobbying contributions.

Apple is 100x worse then MS in the walled off no choice category. They need broken up before MS..
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 6,131   +4,389
THE US Congress behaves more and more like the PRC every day.

Ironically, the PRC behaves more and more like the constitutionally limited US government every day.

No wonder the PRC economy is moving forward and America's isn't.
:facepalm:
The only reason that the PRC economy is moving forward is because of the price advantage that they give their currency. And because of that, it could easily be argued that these big tech companies have given, especially, crApple, their manufacturing money to the PRC. Look at where pretty much everything you buy from almost anywhere these days is made. I think you'll find that it says "Made in China" and for one reason only - the free market economy is only interested in maximizing their profit. And because things are more cheaply made in China, the free market economy flocks to China to have their products made.

IMO, your comparison of the PRC to the US Congress is far from apt. Hey, they let you type your theories about the US Congress on your computer into a site like TS, and they do not show up at your door with an arrest warrant, do they?

IMO, your theory is almost worthy of QAnon. :rolleyes:
 

maxxcool7421

Posts: 28   +52
THE US Congress behaves more and more like the PRC every day.

Ironically, the PRC behaves more and more like the constitutionally limited US government every day.

No wonder the PRC economy is moving forward and America's isn't.
LOL ..CONGRATS!! GW bush and SR and Cheney did what you asked them to do... deregulated the US to the point we lose on every front.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 717   +1,281
Apple is 100x worse then MS in the walled off no choice category. They need broken up before MS..
Apple today is far worst than Microsoft, but have you forgotten they've learn most of the anti-trust tricks from Microsoft themselves?

See the thing is that their tricks are so ubiquitous you don't even think about it anymore but before the 90s you could actually buy a computer without an Operating System or had choice in the matter, it wasn't until Microsoft decided to undercut any and all competition by giving veeeeery heavy subsidies to computer manufacturers and system integrators so every computer would just ship with Windows.

Now Apple gets to sell hardware that basically locks you from using any other OS but the reason we don't bat an eye about this very basic behavior it's because Microsoft invented this way before Apple. The entire concept of "Walled garden" wouldn't have been possible without Microsoft doing all their could to lock every single computer they could reach to run by default and at times just with Microsoft Windows and actively set back for example the development of Linux decades because of these kinds of practices.

So it's not that I disagree but to me it's just about Apple and Google reaping what Microsoft themselves sowed in the past.
 
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maxxcool7421

Posts: 28   +52
I have never in my life bought a PC with a preinstalled OS. And you can still get a HP or DELL with a Preinstalled linux distro .. they never stopped selling them.
**But** I get your jist, they did give away Windows licenses on the cheap to displace OS2 and Solaris back in the day.

EDIT> But these days MS is loosing share to Google ... so I am not worried about breaking up what is a Dinosaur OS and company at this point.. Its Google that worries me.
 

duckofdeath

Posts: 427   +575
One thing that concerns me about this is that YouTube isn't profitable. If you split Google from YouTube then it will likely disappear
That is a massively flawed assessment of how these trillion dollar cartels operates.
Yes, they report non-existent earnings, because that is how you get to 0% tax rates. But they make billions on it. A good example is when that Apple CFO lied through his teeth at the Epic lawsuit hearing about not having a clue on how Apple's app store makes money. I have a feeling, that cynical statement might have accelerated legislators into seeking to break these cartels up.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,723   +3,730
That is a massively flawed assessment of how these trillion dollar cartels operates.
Yes, they report non-existent earnings, because that is how you get to 0% tax rates. But they make billions on it. A good example is when that Apple CFO lied through his teeth at the Epic lawsuit hearing about not having a clue on how Apple's app store makes money. I have a feeling, that cynical statement might have accelerated legislators into seeking to break these cartels up.
If you remember the last time they talked about breaking up big tech, Google talked about how services they provide like YouTube couldn't stand on their own. They use YouTube to collect data and sell it to advertisers in their other services to subsidize its cost. YouTube doesn't pay for itself through direct ad revenue. YouTube makes its money because Google makes its money back from selling the data collected to its other services.
 

Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,861   +2,061
TechSpot Elite
Apple today is far worst than Microsoft, but have you forgotten they've learn most of the anti-trust tricks from Microsoft themselves?

See the thing is that their tricks are so ubiquitous you don't even think about it anymore but before the 90s you could actually buy a computer without an Operating System or had choice in the matter, it wasn't until Microsoft decided to undercut any and all competition by giving veeeeery heavy subsidies to computer manufacturers and system integrators so every computer would just ship with Windows.

Now Apple gets to sell hardware that basically locks you from using any other OS but the reason we don't bat an eye about this very basic behavior it's because Microsoft invented this way before Apple. The entire concept of "Walled garden" wouldn't have been possible without Microsoft doing all their could to lock every single computer they could reach to run by default and at times just with Microsoft Windows and actively set back for example the development of Linux decades because of these kinds of practices.

So it's not that I disagree but to me it's just about Apple and Google reaping what Microsoft themselves sowed in the past.

And in some ways it's worse than that. Microsoft has already been tried with antitrust and sorta lost but the effects were minimal, barely a slap on the wrist. So there's precedent for nothing of substance to happen if MS (and maybe other Big Tech) is targeted.

The problem with Apple is they aren't dominant anywhere except when it comes to profits. In terms of unit sales, market share, etc, there are bigger alternatives in the markets they serve. Hard to prove they're strangling any market unless you target their own App Store market as a separate entity, thereby acknowledging that Google Play's market is not competitive enough. Which seems to be the case.
 

arrowflash

Posts: 431   +466
I've noticed that Microsoft is remarkably absent from this list and I'm yet to see anything that would disqualify only them while still qualifying the rest of the companies named: They certainly push Azure based products quite a bit and never even mention AWS ones, they have bought smaller competitors before and have had pretty significant conflict of interests as well.

So just to entertain some crazy notion here about the politicians presenting this I do have to wonder if we would be able to find out that they're on Microsoft payroll via generous lobbying contributions.

I agree with you, but even if not explicitly stated the bill is obviously targeting social media companies.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 717   +1,281
I agree with you, but even if not explicitly stated the bill is obviously targeting social media companies.
Amazon is a "social media" company? Apple is a stretch but I guess you could consider Facetime and other such apps as "Social media" but Amazon?

Again, Microsoft owning Skype and Teams is far more of a "Social media" entity than either. And if it's because of gaming and twitch that Amazon gets called "Social media" well there's this little thing called Xbox that would certainly qualify them on that regard.

As a disclaimer I don't doubt the explanation would end up being what you're mentioning by the way, I just still kind of find weird.
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 717   +1,281
And in some ways it's worse than that. Microsoft has already been tried with antitrust and sorta lost but the effects were minimal, barely a slap on the wrist. So there's precedent for nothing of substance to happen if MS (and maybe other Big Tech) is targeted.

The problem with Apple is they aren't dominant anywhere except when it comes to profits. In terms of unit sales, market share, etc, there are bigger alternatives in the markets they serve. Hard to prove they're strangling any market unless you target their own App Store market as a separate entity, thereby acknowledging that Google Play's market is not competitive enough. Which seems to be the case.
Yeah we'd need to wait for a resolution to the Epic case when it comes to Apple and their store practices that lead to a lot of profits, but I seriously doubt anything will come out of that other than Epic losing a bunch of money on attorney fees.

As for the big picture I can kind of see a future in which the consumer market is basically conceded to mostly Apple. No, PC isn't "going away" but I'll be a far smaller niche after it shrinks a bunch if Apple gains more traction to become the leader on consumer and enterprise user hardware while AMD, Intel and Nvidia keep battling it out in the data center side.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,976   +5,749
Oh I don't know, when I log in to Amazon, I usually find, and get want I want in working order.

The same definitely can't be said when I vote for a public official.

See what I did there?.
 

ypsylon

Posts: 366   +286
Well looking from afar I can say USA not changed much in ~200 years. Why, look no further than early 19th century. There is that famous scene of then President Jackson and VP MvBuren. Jackson lying on the bed moaning and looking suicidal. VP comes and asks if everything is all right. And in response AJ says: The Bank, Mr van Buren, then Bank is trying to kill me. He was saying that in regard to early version of Fed. Now 150 years forward and in same spot finds itself modern America. Instead National Bank, the most dangerous entities are all too-powerful, all-too-wealthy and all-too-corrupt corporations and politicians on their payroll.

Of course it's not strictly US problem, but because of the monster state allowed to grow, it's most pronounced and visible in the US of A. I cannot fatom why people in US have such pathological aversion to state involvement in how corporations/companies are allowed to run. You're immediately branded a communist. If being a communist is to want quality of life like in Sweden, Norway or Netherlands, so be it. I'm communist for life. Tech corpos create 99% of wealth (not only talking about the most visible aspects like for example Twitter website or iPhone, but whole chain of supply and demand around the World) and pay no taxes. There is 0 oversight. It's not normal. No matter what your allegiance is. Deregulation is fine as long as it doesn't destabilize the country. On the other side we have parasitical media outlets which grew on 0-oversight principle like OAN where 100% lie is the only content. To the point that on 6th January it was American attempt at your own Beer Hall Putsch of 1923 fame.
 

R00sT3R

Posts: 454   +1,255
Its not so much the companies that need to be brought to heel, They're just staffed by people trying to get by.

It's their sociopathic clique of CEO's that need to be dealt with, most of whom aren't products of the self made 'American Dream' but a bunch of 'born to rule' rich kids, who've had every advantage in life and now do everything in their power to keep it all amongst themselves.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,976   +5,749
It's their sociopathic clique of CEO's that need to be dealt with, most of whom aren't products of the self made 'American Dream' but a bunch of 'born to rule' rich kids, who've had every advantage in life and now do everything in their power to keep it all amongst themselves.
Finally, somebody agrees with me, that the "mutts in charge", are nothing, if not, undiluted, pure sociopaths.

Any good they might do, is under the umbrella of, "noblesse oblige". A time honored tradition, for example, of sending a couple of poor kidz to school, so you you'll be looking at them for their "good works", instead of their tax returns.
 
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duckofdeath

Posts: 427   +575
If you remember the last time they talked about breaking up big tech, Google talked about how services they provide like YouTube couldn't stand on their own. They use YouTube to collect data and sell it to advertisers in their other services to subsidize its cost. YouTube doesn't pay for itself through direct ad revenue. YouTube makes its money because Google makes its money back from selling the data collected to its other services.
Again, you're using theoretical semantics to defend tax fraud at the expense of yourself, the one ending up paying all of the taxes.