All-Night Antitrust Debate Moves Big Tech Bills Forward


The House Judiciary Committee advanced a bill to prevent companies like Amazon.com, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet’s Google from favoring their own products, a measure that critics warned could complicate the use of Apple’s own apps on its iPhone or shopping on Amazon. From a report: The legislation was the fifth bill out of six being taken up by the committee in a session that ran for nearly 20 hours into early Thursday morning, before breaking until later in the day. The measure, sponsored by antitrust subcommittee Chair David Cicilline, advanced on a narrowly bipartisan 24-20 vote. The marathon session featured recurring clashes over whether software giant Microsoft would be subject to the committee’s four bills focused on the biggest tech companies. The criteria for a “covered platform” in those proposals are based on market capitalization, monthly users and whether other businesses depend on the company’s services. The extensive back and forth featured debate about antitrust principles, content moderation, freedom of speech and even how legislation should define a foreign adversary. These discussions didn’t fall along party lines, and in some cases showed disagreement among Democrats and found Republicans pitted against each other.



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