House Impeachment Manager David Cicilline (D-RI) speaks at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC on the second day of the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump on February 10, 2021.
Congress.gov via Getty Images
A group of Democrats in the House of Representatives is circulating draft antitrust laws that would force major tech companies to change parts of their business models and restrict large acquisitions, according to copies CNBC received.
While drafts could change significantly before their launch, as currently written, for Apple and Amazon they could require a business model overhaul by limiting their ability to run marketplaces for products and apps while they own their own goods and apps sell in the same stores.
The bills would also make it difficult for these companies, as well as Facebook and Alphabet (the parent company of Google), to complete large mergers, forcing them to make it easier for users to leave their platforms with data intact. CNBC could not immediately know when the drafts would be introduced.
The bills come after a 16-month investigation by the House of Representatives’ subcommittee on antitrust law in the four companies, culminating in a nearly 450-page report by Democrats last fall. While the Republicans on the subcommittee deviated from some of the more extreme proposals made by the Democrats, some agreed with the key findings of the Democratic report on monopoly power and anticompetitive behavior and the need to limit the power of big tech through cartel reform.
The bills do not state whether Republicans support the bills.
In particular, the five discussion drafts would prevent platforms from owning companies that present a conflict of interest, prevent large platforms from preferring their own products over those of competitors who rely on their websites, make it more difficult for large platforms to enter into mergers, registration fees increase raise for acquisitions and mandate channels for users to transfer their data between platforms.
One of Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo. sponsored bills, appears to be an accompanying bill to the Senate bipartisan merger filing fee modernization bill, passed Tuesday in that chamber as part of a larger technology and manufacturing process worth $ 250 billion. This bill would increase the fees companies pay to notify the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division of large mergers with the aim of raising money for these agencies.
The other four drafts CNBC received include:
Representatives of these legislators did not respond or comment on the draft discussions.
Axios first reported on the designs.
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