The House and Senate versions have bipartisan support
Following months of hearings and discussions, pressure is mounting in the Senate to approve new legislation prohibiting internet platforms from favouring their own products and services over those of competitors. A bipartisan group of senators revealed intentions to submit a nondiscrimination measure on Thursday, which may alter Amazon’s online marketplace.
Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) have introduced the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, which would ban platforms like Amazon, Apple, and Google from exploiting their power to disadvantage other firms and rivals that utilise their platforms. The Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives passed a measure with the same name in June. The Senate version of Klobuchar’s bill isn’t identical to the House one, although it has comparable text.
This revelation comes after a Reuters storey on Wednesday that claimed Amazon had exploited marketplace search data to duplicate popular goods and alter results to favour its own knockoffs. According to The Markup’s research on Thursday, the firm positions its items ahead of its competitors.
Third-party vendors have been accusing Amazon of similar practises for years. These allegations were made as part of a years-long antitrust probe by House legislators against Amazon and other internet companies, which prompted the initial bipartisan bill in the House.
In a tweet on Thursday, Klobuchar stated that when dominant tech firms exclude rivals and destroy competition, it harms small businesses and can increase costs for YOU. My new bipartisan legislation with [Grassley] would set new rules of the road to prevent huge corporations from squeezing out smaller rivals.
Aside from Amazon, the law may affect how Apple and Google manage their app stores by prohibiting the firms from giving first-party programmes and software priority. In a lawsuit brought by Epic Games earlier this year, Apple was compelled to enable app developers to send iOS customers to payment alternatives other than those given by the iPhone maker. The Fortnite firm has filed a similar lawsuit against Google.
At the time of publishing, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) indicated that at least five Senate Republicans, including Sens. Cynthia Lummis (WY), Josh Hawley (MO), Lindsey Graham (SC), and John Kennedy, have signed on to the bill (LA). This bipartisan backing is a big step forward for lawmakers trying to regulate online markets, demonstrating that Republicans and Democrats are ready to work together to promote competition.
According to Buck, many “critics” labelled their bipartisan antitrust legislation as ‘Democrat bills. That was false then, and it is false now.
In spite of the bill’s strong congressional support, trade organisations such as Chamber of Progress published comments on Thursday claiming that it will harm rather than improve customer experiences online.
Chamber of Progress founder and CEO Adam Kovacevich said in a statement on Thursday that blocking Amazon from selling Amazon Basics and removing Google’s maps from search results would do nothing to improve the Internet for families. It’s the equivalent of hiring an auto mechanic to fix your laptop. Amazon, Facebook, and Google are among the tech firms that have partnered with the Chamber of Progress group.
Congress is under increasing pressure to take action against internet marketplaces and counterfeit goods. The INFORM Act, proposed by House legislators last week, would force platforms like Amazon to authenticate the identity of high-volume sellers in order to prevent the sale of counterfeit goods.
A request for comment from Amazon was not immediately returned.