House members to file bills that can split Amazon in half

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Republicans and Democrats introduce ‘end monopolies’ bill that could force Amazon and other tech giants to split into two companies

  • A bipartisan group of House members plans to roll out bills aimed at breaking Big Tech monolopes targeting Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google
  • The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that the proposed legislation could force Amazon to split into two companies or divest its own branded products.
  • Another bill would prohibit major tech companies from using their platforms to give their own products an edge
  • The bills can already be announced on Friday
  • Each of the House bills has Democratic and Republican support, the Journal reported, but no names have been publicly attached to the legislation.

A bipartisan group of House members plans to roll out bills aimed at breaking Big Tech monolopes, targeting Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

The Wall Street Journal reports that On Friday, the proposed legislation could force Amazon to split into two companies or divest its own branded products.

Another bill would prohibit major tech companies from using their platforms to give their own products an edge.

Amazon.com's headquarters in Seattle.  Amazon is one of the 'Big Tech' companies expected to be the target of new antitrust legislation that could be rolled out as early as Friday

Amazon.com’s headquarters in Seattle. Amazon is one of the ‘Big Tech’ companies expected to be the target of new antitrust legislation that could be rolled out as early as Friday

Lauren Sanchez (left) and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (right).  Legislation could force Amazon to split its platform business from its branded products business

Lauren Sanchez (left) and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (right). Legislation could force Amazon to split its platform business from its branded products business

Apple CEO Tim Cook.  If the legislation is passed, it could also affect how Apple runs its app store

Apple CEO Tim Cook. If the legislation is passed, it could also affect how Apple runs its app store

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is imprisoned in March while testifying before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Facebook is big enough to be the target of the bills too

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be imprisoned in March as a witness before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Facebook is big enough to be the target of the bills too

The bills could be announced as early as Friday.

Congress has spent the past 15 months looking at the scope and power of so-called ‘Big Tech’.

Each of the House bills has Democratic and Republican support, the Journal reported, but no names have been publicly attached to the legislation.

One of the bills, called the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, says: “It is illegal for an operator of a covered platform to own or control an industry other than the covered platform, when it owns or controls the covered platform across that line of business creates an incompatible conflict of interest.”

The Journal compared the bill to the Glass-Steagall Act, which separates commercial and investment banking.

While Amazon sells third-party goods, it also sells its own branded products, and often for much cheaper.

It has also been found to use third-party data to inform what products it makes.

The second bill concerns a company’s self-preference, where a company uses its platform or exclusive access to data to favor other parts of the business — such as how Amazon handles its retail operations or how Apple operates its app store.

The legislation targets Big Tech, requiring the companies to have a market cap of $600 billion or more or more than 500,000 active monthly users, according to the Journal.

Under those parameters, only Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google would currently qualify.

The bills would have to pass through a Democrat-controlled House and then to a Senate, where Democrats’ slim majority means the bills would need 10 Republican votes to nullify a filibuster threat.

While both parties have been critical of “Big Tech” in recent years, Republicans are less likely to support changing the country’s antitrust laws.

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