There was so much screaming at first. And now action is taken. (May be.)
The bad mood over the power of big tech companies has a new and perhaps surprising development: the House legislature wrote a package of Proposed legislation that when it all passes – a very big “if” – could fundamentally change Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple as we know them.
I asked my colleague Cecilia Kang to walk us through the bills and how we got here.
Shira: What does this legislation suggest?
Cecilia: There are six bills trying in different ways to limit the power of big tech companies. One invoice Government agencies keeping an eye on businesses to allocate more funds is not so controversial.
This helped cement a largely bipartisan consensus – though not always for common reasons – that Washington had to lend less hand to tech companies. And antitrust law is now seen as a way to address a number of perceived issues with technology, including for some Republicans Perceptions of bias against conservative voices and views.
Both. From my conversations with lobbyists of large technology companies it emerges that the companies have misjudged their goodwill towards politicians and regulators. And Washington’s tech company policy bureaus may not have fully articulated to their West Coast bosses just how much lawmakers have opposed big tech.
But you see, a handful of tech companies are the most valuable companies in the country, influencing the economy, labor practices, the way people find information, and the way we live. This puts the company to the test.
How do the companies react to these bills?
your central message is that lawmakers risk creating far more problems than they can solve. Apple saysFor example, if Congress asks the company to download iPhone apps outside of its official store, people will be exposed to sketchy apps. Lobbyists have said that Amazon could potentially be forced to stop Prime delivery for some products.
Is there a united front between Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple?
Not necessarily. There is some disagreement about politics. Facebook seems open to one of the suggestions that would make it easier for people to move their data from an app to a competitor. Google opposes it, saying it exposes scammers.
There is also anger inside. It’s not just the biggest tech companies that resent Facebook for what they think the company has done to tarnish the entire industry. A lobbyist told me that it is difficult for Facebook to take action against antitrust law after many scandals. Apple that is contrary to Facebook lobbying lawmakers in almost every way on behalf of Facebook and Facebook.
Are you sure you haven’t been lobbying ?! It’s a classic strategy, and it’s not an illogical bet that Congress won’t work together. But those antitrust laws, especially those that make acquisitions difficult or force companies to close down, are existential threats to big tech. Businesses have to fight it.
Before we go …
A mid-range retirement account of $ 5 billion: ProPublica examined how ultra-rich Americans, including Peter Thiel, a prominent investor in young tech companies, have amassed billions of dollars in tax-free assets in supposedly retirement accounts for those with far more modest savings.
Can ecommerce giants help India’s shopkeepers? The 20 million small shops in India known as kiranas dominate shopping in the country. Bloomberg News reports that Amazon and Walmart’s own e-commerce site Flipkart Cooperation with the shops – including providing inventory management apps and using the stores to send deliveries – to sell more goods in Indian communities.
Dr. Reddit? Wired writes the a Reddit forum called DiagnoseMewhere people seek medical advice from strangers isn’t as bad as it sounds. DiagnoseMe is pretty good at self-monitoring and encourages people to stand up for themselves in the sometimes hostile healthcare system.