Big Tech Ramps Up Efforts to Challenge US Antitrust Bill as Senate Prepares to Take Decision This Month - world cultures

Big Tech Ramps Up Efforts to Challenge US Antitrust Bill as Senate Prepares to Take Decision This Month

Big Tech has launched a media campaign aimed at bringing out one of the most innovative bipartisan bills in the US that would prevent tech companies, like Amazon, from giving preference to their own businesses on their websites.

Amazon criticized the bill on Wednesday, saying in a blog post that the bill “compromises two things American consumers love most about Amazon: the wide selection and low prices made possible by opening our store to third-party selling partners, and the promise of fast and free shipping.” Via Amazon Prime.

It argued that the bill targeted one retailer, Amazon, by requiring a market value of at least $550 billion (about Rs 3,880,500 crore) to qualify for regulation, thus excluding Wal-Mart and Target.

Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley are the main sponsors of the bill.

A spokesperson for Klobuchar, when asked about the Amazon post, said, “Who do you trust? America’s largest online retailer with a demonstrated track record of strengthening small businesses and lying about the impact of the bill, or small businesses themselves?”

The speaker also listed the business groups that support the bill, including Small Business Rising and the Main Street Alliance.

A source familiar with the situation said the Senate could vote on the bill as early as this month, which helps explain the growing voice of the opposition. The measure passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, despite huge pressure from top executives such as Apple CEO, Tim Cook. It was also approved by the House of Representatives Judicial Committee last year.

The US Chamber of Commerce, in a letter to the Senate on Tuesday, called the bill “misleading” and said it would be “a comprehensive overhaul of the US economy, sector by sector.”

Among the pro-tech groups opposing the bill are the Progress Chamber, TechNet, and the Computer and Communications Industry Association.

The Progress Chamber said late last month that the bill, if it becomes law, will “break popular consumer products,” specifically the Amazon Prime, Google Maps and Apple iPhone apps. An online ad saying “Senator Klobuchar wants to erase Amazon essentials,” ran Amazon-branded products.

Senate sponsors said that if the bill became law, Alphabet’s Google would be allowed to display maps and answer queries, companies could offer free shipping and cell phones that could be sold with pre-installed apps.

Amazon argued that the bill could harm hundreds of thousands of small businesses that sell merchandise on its website because heavy fines for violations “would make it difficult to justify the risk of Amazon offering a marketplace in which selling partners could participate.”

© Thomson Reuters 2022

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