House Bill Could Split Up Big Tech Companies

House Bill Could Split Up Big Tech Companies

June 11, 2021 at 06:47PM

U.S. lawmakers are preparing bipartisan legislation that would require Big Tech companies like Amazon to essentially split in two or shed their private-label products.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the bill could impose the “structural separation of Amazon and other big technology companies” following a 15-month investigation into Big Tech. Another bill targets the ability of these companies to “leverage their online platforms to favor their own products over competitors,” the Journal said, citing unnamed sources and documents viewed by its reporters.

The Ending Platform Monopolies Act would make it illegal 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,” the legislation says.

As PYMNTS reported earlier this week, the proposed bill is among five pieces of legislation being considered that would reduce the power of Big Tech companies. This comes at a time when regulators in other countries, including China and the U.K., are looking at ways to control Big Tech firms.

In addition to the bills already discussed, there is also legislation barring eCommerce platforms from mergers that compete with their own business, and another requiring platforms to create a way for users to transfer data, even if it is to a competitor. Another bill would increase the fees charged by the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission to larger tech firms.

For now, just four companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — meet the parameters laid out in the bills, the WSJ said. If a structural separation bill passes, Amazon may be faced with the choice of splitting into two websites — one for its third-party marketplace and one for first-party — or divest and end the sale of its own products.