Amazon, Others Face Forced Asset Sales Under Imminent House Bills
Amazon and other technology giants could be forced to either split into two companies or shed their private-label products under a new bill under preparation by House lawmakers, according to documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal.
The bill, which could be announced as soon as today, “could mandate structural separation of Amazon and other technology giants that Congress spent 15 months investigating as part of an inquiry into the size and power of Big Tech,” according to the report. Another bill potentially coming Friday targets the ability of big tech to pump their own products over their platforms over their competitors.
Each of the bills has both Republicans and Democrats signed onto it, with more expected to join once they are announced, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Called the “Ending Platform Monopolies Act,” a draft of the proposed structural separation bill reviewed by the Journal says: “It shall be unlawful for a covered platform operator to own or control a line of business, other than the covered platform, when the covered platform’s ownership or control of that line of business gives rise to an irreconcilable conflict of interest.” That language could change in the bill’s final draft. –WSJ
If the bill is to gain any traction, it will need to pass both the Democratically controlled House and Senate, however due to their slim majorities, they’ll need ‘substantial’ GOP support. As the Journal suggests, “While Republicans are concerned about tech companies’ power, many are skeptical about changing antitrust laws.”
The two bills are part of a five-bill push aiming to curb the dominance of tech giants, including Apple, Facebook and Google. The other bills focus on issues such as data portability and the ability of large companies to buy competitors who pose a threat.