Bloomberg: Tech Gets Congress Antitrust Warning: ‘Change Is Coming’

February 25, 2021 Media

House lawmakers kicked off an effort to tackle dominant technology companies, vowing a revamp of competition laws to curb their power.

The House antitrust panel, led by Representative David Cicilline, heard from antitrust experts Thursday about potential proposals aimed at fostering competition in digital markets, ranging from company breakups to new regulations to prevent tech giants from flexing their muscles.

Other measures backed by witnesses included more funding for U.S. antitrust enforcers, rules preventing them from discriminating against rivals on their platforms and a special tribunal that could decide antitrust complaints more quickly than traditional courts.

Morgan Harper, a senior adviser at the American Economic Liberties Project, an anti-monopoly organization, cautioned that break-ups of companies need to be on the table as the best way to correct conflicts of interest that can arise when tech companies compete with firms that depend on their platforms.

“Regulatory tools alone cannot address the problem of entrenched market power, and can sometimes make it worse,” she said. “The dominant tech platforms know they offer critical infrastructure, and can effectively ignore regulation.”