The House Judiciary Committee is considering six antitrust bills aimed at Facebook, Apple, Amazon and Google. Yahoo Finance’s Jessica Smith shares the details.
AKIKO FUJITA: We begin first though in Washington this hour with a House Judiciary Committee debating six antitrust bills that could fundamentally shake up the business model of big tech. The mark-up well underway on the Hill-- and that's where we find Jessica Smith, who is tracking the very latest for us. Jess, we've got six bills we're looking at. Walk us through specifically how this is going to disrupt some of these businesses.
JESSICA SMITH: Well, Akiko, these bills are all bipartisan. You will remember the 18-month investigation that the House Judiciary antitrust panel did over the past couple of years. This is the result of that. It's going to apply to companies with a $600 billion market cap or 50 million monthly users. Lawmakers say that these companies have gotten too big, too powerful. And it's hurting consumers and competition. It's hurting small businesses.
So, what the bills would do is it would empower regulators, make it more difficult for tech giants to acquire startups, allow users to transfer data elsewhere, keep companies from discriminating against other rival companies that use their platforms. It could even break up Amazon's control of its marketplace. Now, the tech companies are pushing back against this, saying in part that the process should slow down-- that these bills are too rushed. In a statement, Amazon said of the bills, "We believe they would have significant negative effects on the hundreds of thousands of American small and medium-sized businesses that sell in our store, and tens of millions of consumers who buy products from Amazon."
Now, the top Republican on the committee, Congressman Jim Jordan, in his opening statement, really blasted these bills, saying that they didn't do anything to address his perceived censorship of conservatives on social media platforms. He has said that Democrats are using this bill to kind of help that effort that he sees there. But that is his criticism of the bill. But this could go well into the evening. We expect this to last quite a long time. So, we'll have to keep you updated on what happens and if these bills do make it out of committee.
AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, a lot of bills there that lawmakers have to debate today. Jessica Smith, thanks so much for that update.