US lawmakers detail 3 ways to address Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon antitrust concerns

The US House Judiciary Committee held a major hearing on big tech antitrust concerns last summer. That included testimony from Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg. Now the Antitrust subcommittee has met again today and revealed more details on how legislation that could be proposed as early as this spring could aim to reform big tech like Apple.

Reported by The Verge, today’s hearing, entitled “Reviving Competition, Part 1: Proposals to Address Gatekeeper Power & Lower Barriers to Entry Online” (available on YouTube) focused on understanding how big tech can act as gatekeepers and what approaches could be effective for new legislation to prevent that.

Detailed by The Verge, the three broad goals for bills we could see proposed later this spring will be aimed at:

Data interoperability and portability: Users should be able to take their data elsewhere with ease. Example: Think about how you can move your phone number between carriers. Before the 1996 Telecommunications Act, that wasn’t always an option!

Nondiscrimination: Basically, a dominant platform shouldn’t be able to preference its own products over those of its competitors. 

Structural remedies: Breaking apart different lines of business or platforms under one company.

In particular, the nondiscrimination aspect will be the most threatening for Apple as it faces a lot of antitrust scrutiny over the App Store, Sign in with Apple, Apple Pay, and more.

While we could see the first bills around big tech legislation relatively soon, it may be some time before they are finalized and actually voted on. The US House antitrust subcommittee will have two more hearings before the first legislation is initially filed.

Separately, Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), the chair of the Senate’s antitrust panel submitted a bill earlier this month that could see fines up to 15% of annual revenue for Apple and others deemed to be acting anticompetitively.

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Avatar for Michael Potuck Michael Potuck

Michael is an editor for 9to5Mac. Since joining in 2016 he has written more than 3,000 articles including breaking news, reviews, and detailed comparisons and tutorials.