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US House committee paves way for clamp-down on Big Tech "monopoly"

The decision could lead to new legislation designed to break up the industry's biggest players

The US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has formally approved a report seeking to curb Big Tech market dominance.

The report calls for regulatory changes that could lead to a shake-up of the technology industry, including imposing structural separations of vendor platforms and the requirement that all software and services are made compatible with competitors.

The 450-page report, which accuses Big Tech companies in the US of acting as a monopoly, was approved during a marathon hearing by a 24-17 vote, split along party lines, according to Reuters.

“Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook each hold monopoly power over significant sectors of our economy. This monopoly moment must end,” said David Cicilline, the House antitrust subcommittee chairman.

He confirmed the report had been approved and underlined that Congress and antitrust enforcement agencies need to restore a competitive marketplace, enhance innovation and protect democracy.

Cicilline added that he looks forward to crafting legislation to address the “significant concerns” mentioned in the report.

The report, which was released in October last year, could see huge regulatory changes for dominant technology companies in the US.

The recommendations include structural separations and prohibitions of certain dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business, prohibiting dominant platforms from giving unfair promotion to their own services, and giving safe harbour for news publishers to safeguard a free and diverse press.

The report also calls for new powers to provide robust congressional oversight of the antitrust laws and their enforcement, as well as a recommendation to restore federal antitrust agencies to full strength.

Senators have already begun introducing new bills to improve antitrust enforcement, including a bill introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar in February that aimed to invigorate the country’s antitrust laws and restore competition to markets.

In the UK, Epic Games filed a complaint with the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) at the end of March to support the watchdog’s investigation into the big tech company’s anti-competitive behaviour.

The CMA is currently investigating whether Apple imposes unfair or anti-competitive terms on its app developers and will pay particular attention to its 30% “app tax”. This is something the US committee’s report also highlighted, detailing that the company charges app developers “supra-competitive prices within the App store”.

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