The Hill: Biden’s call for Big Tech crackdown boosts long-shot antitrust push

February 9, 2023 Media

President Biden’s boost for an antitrust reform proposal targeting tech giants during his State of the Union address was embraced as a win for supporters backing the bill to limit dominant tech companies from preferencing their own products and services.

During the roughly one hour and 13 minute speech, the president urged Congress to strengthen antitrust enforcement and“prevent big online platforms from giving their own products an unfair advantage.”

The president’s support, though, may do little to move the needle on the issue — especially in a politically divided Congress — as powerful tech groups continue to push back.

Biden’s comment was seemingly a nod to the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act. The legislation aims to block dominant companies from giving preference to their own goods or discriminating against rival products. In practice, that could mean that Amazon would not be able to place its own products at the top of search results or that Google would be prevented from highlighting its own services in its search engine results.

Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said the speech “sends an unmistakable message to the rest of the Democratic Party that the President expects his Party to ‘finish the job.’”

In addition to the nod to the proposal to rein in “Big Tech” dominance over small businesses, Miller applauded Biden’s speech for boosting support for banning “junk fees” on tickets and ending noncompete agreements for workers.