Image by Firmbee from Pixabay 

Recently, a group of some thirteen companies urged the US Congress to approve a bill designed to reign in Big Tech firms. The bill can not only be significant to the USA but also to the global antitrust regulators.

What is the Klobuchar Bill?

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act ( AICO ) is an antitrust legislation in the US, which could have far-reaching implications on the functioning of Big Tech firms. The Bill's purpose as defined by the US Congress is to provide that certain discriminatory conduct by covered platforms shall be unlawful and for other purposes. It seeks to bar the Big Tech firms from promoting their own products, services or line of business over rivals, biasing search results in their favour and limiting rival's access to platform data, etc. This bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican Chuck Grassley.

Senator Amy Klobuchar 
Image by Wikipedia

Impact of Bill on Big Tech?

The bill applies to online platforms with over 50 million active users or annual market capitalization of over $550 billion - like Apple, Google, Amazon and Meta.

The passing of the bill shall entrust an authority with the antitrust agencies to impose penalties on such platforms for unfair preferencing of their own products and services, limiting another's products to compete against their own, discrimination of application of enforcement terms and more. Most of the bill's language applies directly to how app stores, social media and e-commerce platforms operated by Big Tech platforms operate putting them in a circumference of authoritative check.

Who is seeking approval?

The 13 companies include smaller tech firms like Mozilla, Proton and DuckDuck Go that advertise themselves as pro-privacy expressed support for a bill to ban self-preferencing by Big Tech platforms.

Significance of the Bill?

While more and more Americans are embracing privacy-first technologies, some dominant firms still use their gatekeeper power to limit competition and restrict user choice. Excluding the unhealthy competition shall assist in developing a conducive atmosphere for the growth of Big Tech companies.

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