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The U.S. antitrust law proposes to split the technology giants in the game or welcome disruptive reforms


The Judiciary Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives will review the six latest antitrust bills at 10 am Eastern Time on Wednesday, which will have a disruptive impact on the technology industry. On Tuesday, technology giants including Google and Amazon publicly declared their opposition to the new legislation, saying that these bills would undermine the provision of services by companies to consumers. These new bills include the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, the End Platform Monopoly Act, the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, the License Switching Service Platform to Enhance Compatibility and Competition Act, and the Large M&A Filing Fee Modernization Act “Wait. Technology companies clearly oppose Just as the European Digital Market Act requires giants such as Apple, Google, and Amazon to open their platforms to competitors, the antitrust bill under consideration in the United States aims to check and balance the power of these tech giants by restricting the ability of these tech giants to annex or weaken their competitors. , Two of them may require structural changes or spin-offs of these giant platforms. The new bill will specifically target platforms with a market value of more than US$600 billion and more than 50 million monthly active users in the United States, prohibit these large platforms from owning and operating business lines that have conflicts of interest, and provide for anti-discriminatory business practices. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has begun antitrust investigations into the digital market of giant companies such as Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, but these companies believe that the new legislation will ultimately harm the interests of small businesses. Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, Mark Isakowitz, said in a statement: “As many groups and companies have observed, these bills will require us to reduce our services and prevent We provide important functions used by hundreds of millions of Americans, all of which will greatly weaken the United States’ technological leadership, disrupt the way small businesses connect with consumers, and cause serious privacy and security issues.” Amazon said in a statement: “More than half a million U.S. small and medium-sized enterprises make a living through the Amazon marketplace. If they cannot reach Amazon’s customers, it will be more difficult for these third-party sellers to generate revenue for their business. The choice to remove these sellers from the Amazon store is also It will reduce product price competition and ultimately may increase consumer prices.” Brian Huseman, Amazon’s vice president of public policy, warned that Amazon’s consumers and third-party SMEs on the platform would be “significantly negatively affected.” He called on the Judiciary Committee to carefully review the wording in the bill to prevent unexpected negative consequences. Facebook believes that the proposed bill is not a solution to the ever-changing challenges of the consumer Internet. A Facebook spokesperson said that antitrust laws should promote competition and protect consumers, rather than penalize successful American companies. Facebook said in a statement: “The most reliable way to deal with the challenges facing the Internet today is to address the areas that people are most concerned about, such as content moderation, integrity and privacy, rather than trying to abandon the products and services that people rely on. These bills Underestimating the fierce competition in the technology industry, we are facing competition from foreign companies including TikTok, WeChat and Alibaba.” Apple did not comment on these bills. But at the Vivatech Technology Conference in France last week, Cook stated publicly that the “Digital Market Law” drafted for Europe: “This bill is not in the best interests of users, because it will allow users to download third parties directly on Apple iPhone. Application software without having to pass Apple’s review, which will undermine the security of the iPhone.” The American Chamber of Commerce also criticized a series of proposals in the House of Representatives. Neil Bradley, Executive Vice President and Chief Policy Officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement recently: “A bill for a specific company, rather than focusing on business practices, is purely bad policy and fundamentally unfair. Yes, this may be ruled unconstitutional.” Mark McCarthy, a senior researcher at the Brookings Institution, believes that the antitrust approach outlined in the bill proposed by Jayapar et al. has advantages and disadvantages. He said that forcing Amazon to separate from its third-party market may have some negative effects. “The consequences of this may not be friendly to consumers and merchants. Consumers will find it harder to find products, and sellers may lose customers.” McCarthy said. Investors Dismissive Investment bank Wedbush believes that the structure of most large technology companies such as Apple will not be subject to major threats. In a report to investors, Wedbush chief analyst Daniel Ives (Daniel Ives) wrote that investors “dismissed concerns” about antitrust legislation and the possible spin-off of Silicon Valley giants. Ives believes that unless the core antitrust laws are amended, the current momentum is more likely to only lead to fines or business model adjustments, rather than splitting up technology companies. “To take a step back, our view on antitrust is that it is still a controllable risk factor for Apple and large technology companies.” Ives said, “We also believe that the app store is still a very easy to prevent moat. , The ads may be different.” This means that Apple will be on the edge of antitrust, Facebook and Google may become the center of antitrust. On Tuesday, Google once again became the focus of EU antitrust, and regulators began investigating whether its digital advertising business would put competitors and advertisers in an unfair position. The European Commission said it will investigate whether Google has distort competition by restricting third-party access to user data, while retaining such data for its own use. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a statement: “We are concerned that Google will make it difficult for competitors’ online advertising services to compete with them. We will also study Google’s policy on user tracking. To ensure that they comply with the principles of fair competition.” In the past decade, Google has been fined more than nearly $10 billion for blocking competitors’ online shopping, Android’s monopoly on smartphones and online advertising. But compared to Google’s huge advertising revenue, these fines seem like a drop in the bucket. Google’s online advertising revenue last year was US$147 billion, surpassing the advertising revenue of any other company in the world. These ads come from ads including Google search, YouTube and Gmail. Ads also account for most of Google’s overall sales and profits. . According to data from market research firm eMarketer, Google is expected to control 27% of the global online advertising market this year, including 57% of search ads and 10% of display ads. Although these numbers do not seem to represent a monopoly, advertisers and competitors believe that Google’s various software plays a role in many aspects of the market, which makes the company’s monopoly unavoidable. Attorney You Yunting, a senior partner of Shanghai Dabang Law Firm, believes that if the latest series of antitrust laws in the United States are reviewed and passed, the impact on technology companies will be disruptive. You Yunting told a reporter from China Business News: “I think from the perspective of judicial procedures, these bills are still in the early stages of legislation, and are still in the game between all parties. After the deliberation of the House Judiciary Committee, there will be votes in the Senate and the House of Representatives. With the approval of the President, Internet giants can also lobby during this period.” He believes that if this legislation is passed, it will have an important subversive impact on the American traditional dominance of the Chicago school’s antitrust theory. “Because the Chicago School values ​​the impact of antitrust cases on consumers’ rights and interests the most, so in the subsequent deliberation and advancement of the bill, the academic circles that were once dominant should also put forward their own opinions on this major reform.” You Yunting Said to a reporter from China Business News, “During the deliberation, the game between all parties will definitely make major amendments to the relevant provisions of the bill.”