Congress is trying to pass an antitrust bill that would significantly alter the tech landscape, but Big Tech has spent $95 million to scuttle it.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act takes aim at Big Tech companies in an effort to reign in their influence and create a more competitive environment. One of the key provisions of the bill would prevent companies from favoring their own products and services.
Despite bipartisan support for the bill among lawmakers, Bloomberg is reporting that Amazon, Apple, Google, and Meta have spent nearly $95 million lobbying against the legislation in a move that may be paying off. Bloomberg’s sources said the bill appeared to be losing momentum and was facing a do-or-die moment.
“If supporters of this bill had enough votes, it wouldn’t be a bill, it would be a law,” Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, told the outlet.
The bill has already faced stiff opposition, not only from Big Tech but also from unexpected sources. The Independent Women’s Voice came out as an early critic of the legislation.
Read more: Amazon Cries Fouls Over US Antitrust Bill
“The days of innovative services making it easier to live, work, and do business, especially during a pandemic, could be numbered if the American Innovation and Choice Online Act passes the full Senate,” said Patrice Onwuka, a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice, in a statement to WPN in January 2022. “Today’s affirmative committee vote is very troubling because this bill is not about protecting competition in America, but expanding regulatory control over a handful of large tech corporations, even if to the detriment of consumers.”
Onwuka went on to describe the bill as “ill-conceived” and one that would hurt women-owned businesses.
“Senators Klobuchar and Grassley acknowledged the issues with their ill-conceived legislation by introducing a manager’s amendment that does nothing to address substantive concerns from across the political spectrum,” Onwuka continued. “As written, convenient, cost-saving, and secure services from Google Maps in search results to Amazon Prime would effectively be banned. The impacts for women are easy to imagine. Women business owners who depend on a variety of services to find customers, target their goods and services to the right audience, and carry out their business functions would be left in the cold.”
With limited time before the November midterm elections, some worry there are other, more pressing matters for the Senate to consider. It remains to be seen if the antitrust bill will squeeze through, but there are at least 95 million reasons why it may not.