Big Tech Won't Be Allowed to Favor Own Products, Should Senate Pass Bipartisan Bill

Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook could soon face barriers when seeking to favor their own products on their platforms should senate lawmakers proceed in passing a bill known as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

The bill, which was introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, and Senator Chuck Grassley, an Iowa Republican, Judiciary Committee ranking member, mirrors a House version that passed the House Judiciary Committee.

Klobuchar's office said the bill would be introduced next week and would aim to prevent Big Tech platforms from requiring vendors operating on their sites to purchase their goods or services. It would also bar them from biasing their search results in favor of their own products.

"As dominant digital platforms—some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen—increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace," Klobuchar said in a statement.

The bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act would prevent these companies from amplifying their own products over their competitors. Here, an illustration picture taken in London on December 18, 2020 shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and a laptop screen. Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Service providers such as Spotify and Epic Games have faced public spats with Apple and Google over the two giants control of their respective app marketplaces. Epic Games continues to find itself embroiled in lawsuits over the game company's decision to direct users outside app marketplaces to make purchases. The two tech companies expelled the developer from their platforms for this action.

Similarly, Spotify continues to remain involved in an antitrust case in the European Union where it alleges Apple unfairly thwarts competitors to its streaming service, Apple Music. Third-party sellers on Amazon allege the giant ranks its own private label products over their own. And, both Yelp and TripAdvisor allege Google buries their links in favor of its own review system.

For some time, Congress has focused on reigning in the power of Big Tech. While progressives have criticized the companies for their perceived exploitation of workers, Trump supporters have condemned them for expelling the accounts of the former president.

"As Big Tech has grown and evolved over the years, our laws have not changed to keep up and ensure these companies are competing fairly," Grassley said in a statement. "Big Tech needs to be held accountable if they behave in a discriminatory manner. Our bill will help create a more even playing field and ensure that small businesses are able to compete with these platforms."