Cotton, Klobuchar Plan to Rein in Big Tech’s ‘Monopolistic’ Practices with New Bipartisan Bill

Amy Klobuchar and Tom Cotton

Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Democratic Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar unveiled a bipartisan bill Friday intended to restrict how major tech companies acquire and merge with smaller firms.

The bill, titled the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, is a companion to antitrust legislation advanced out of the House Judiciary Committee in June. If enacted, the law would shift the burden in antitrust cases to the acquiring party for mergers greater than $50 million, meaning that the acquiring firm would have to prove that its acquisition of another company was not anti-competitive.

The bill explicitly targets Big Tech companies, and it applies to firms with market capitalizations over $600 billion, at least 50,000,000 U.S.-based monthly active users or 100,000 monthly active business users. This would include Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple.

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Commentary: The FDA’s Power over Food and Drug Approval

Competition tends to bring about a better product or service, at a lower price, than does monopoly. This is a basic premise held by virtually all economists, disputed by pretty much no one in the profession. The entire antitrust edifice of the American system is built upon this foundational aspect of the dismal science.

And yet when push comes to shove, our society jettisons this insight, at least when it comes to assuring the quality of our food and drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration is a monopoly agency entrusted with this task. Its word is final concerning such matters. No competition is allowed. If a private agency set itself up as an alternative, it would first be subjected to raucous laughter, and then its creators jailed.

The FDA is a licensing agency. If it does not approve of a food or drug, it is illegal to offer it for sale. What is the non-monopolistic alternative to this sad state of affairs? This is called certification. How, pray tell, does this work? It is simple. Different firms set themselves up as evaluators of the quality of food and drugs, and each of them subjects these products to their examinations. They certify some as approved, and list others as not approved.

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Biden’s Green Energy Plan and Botched Afghan Withdrawal Boost China’s Rare Metals Monopoly

At first blush, it may not seem that the Democrats’ $4.5 trillion infrastructure and spending plans and President Joe Biden’s bungled exit from Afghanistan have a nexus. But they do in China’s rare metals monopoly.

Beijing already dominates the rare metals market needed for electronics, electric car batteries and computers, a reality made more painfully obvious with the current computer chip shortage that is slowing production of new U.S. cars.

And now with the haphazard U.S. withdrawal from Kabul, one of the world’s largest untapped deposits of lithium — estimated by some at $1 trillion in Afghanistan — is poised to fall into China’s hands just as Biden has ordered that half all U.S. cars be electric by 2030 and congressional Democrats prepare to vote to invest tens of billions of dollars more to push that goal further.

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U.S. Files New Complaint Against Facebook over Monopoly Concerns

The U.S. government amended its antitrust complaint against Facebook on Thursday, bolstering allegations that the tech company illegally maintained a monopoly.

The amended complaint follows the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) dismissed December 2020 complaint which failed to adequately prove the tech giant’s monopoly in the “Personal Social Networking Services” market.

The FTC alleges that Facebook illegally acquired competitors WhatsApp and Instagram in order to stifle competition, maintaining monopoly power by preventing competitors from operating on Facebook software.

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Commentary: Break Up Big Tech Before It’s Too Late

With the rise of populist and bipartisan resentment against Big Tech monopolies along with the recent appointment of Big Tech opponent Lina Khan as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, government action against these companies seems imminent. People are waking up to the fact that they have way too much power and are a threat to the American way of life.

As if on cue, prominent conservatives have come to the defense of these monopolies. Most recently, Robert Bork Jr. argued in National Review that breaking up Big Tech would lead to “a slippery slope to the end of capitalism and the rise of political management of the economy.” He agrees with conservatives such as Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who says, “These [anti-monopoly] bills give power to the FTC, the new commissioner we all know is radically left.”

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Poll: Majority of Americans Support Regulating, Breaking Up Big Tech

A majority of Americans believe major tech companies are too powerful, and support the government regulating and breaking them up, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted from June 7 to 12 and released Wednesday by Change Research on behalf of progressive groups CAP Action and Public Citizen, found that 81% of respondents believe Big Tech and social media companies are too powerful, with 73% at least “somewhat convinced” they should be regulated and broken up. Republicans had a less favorable view of tech companies than Democrats and tended to be more supportive of antitrust action.

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36 States Sue Google over Alleged Anticompetitive Practices in Play Store

Google Play Store on Android

State attorneys general of 36 states and the District of Columbia filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Wednesday alleging the company engaged in anticompetitive practices in its Play Store for Android.

The complaint argues Google holds and unlawfully maintains a monopoly in the market of “Android app distribution,” using anticompetitive tactics such as blocking competitors from accessing the Play Store, discouraging the creation of competing app stores, and acquiring smaller app developers. The complaint also alleges Google charges app developers up to a 30% commission when customers purchase their products through the Google Play Store.

“Google has taken steps to close the ecosystem from competition and insert itself as the middleman between app developers and consumers,” the plaintiffs argue.

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Congress’ Antitrust Legislation Avoids Regulating Many Big Tech Companies

Last-minute changes to major antitrust legislation working its way through the House appears to exempt several Big Tech companies from being affected by its regulations.

The legislation, which has been months in the making and was crafted to take on Big Tech monopolies, targets a handful of companies while excluding others that also have massive market power, a leading expert told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Existing federal and state antitrust law already prohibits a wide range of anticompetitive business activity across all industries like unlawful mergers and monopolization.

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Federal Judge Dismisses Antitrust Lawsuits Against Facebook

On Monday, a massive blow was dealt to the effort to have Facebook labeled as a monopoly and possibly be broken up as a result, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.

Judge James Boasberg, an Obama-appointed judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, dismissed two major antitrust lawsuits filed against the Big Tech giant, with one filed by the Federal Trade Commission and the other filed by a bipartisan group of state attorneys general.

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Facebook Becomes Fifth Tech Company Worth More Than $1 Trillion

Facebook’s market capitalization, or total dollar value, closed above $1 trillion for the first time ever Monday, making it the fifth U.S. company to reach such size.

Facebook exceeded the $1 trillion mark after a year in which the company experienced massive user and earnings growth, CNBC reported. Apple, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon – all fellow Big Tech companies – are the only other U.S. companies that have also surpassed $1 trillion in market capitalization, according to Axios.

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Commentary: Mr. Monopoly Sells Out to the Woke Warriors

Monopoly In Jail

Monopoly is going directly to Woke, not passing Go, and not collecting $200. This is the lamentable news from Hasbro, America’s latest victim of vacuous corporate woke consciousness. Monopoly’s makeover is yet another step in the Left’s forced march to turn our pastimes into nap times by seeking to expunge fun in the name of social justice.

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Commentary: The Age of COVID-19 May Be the Perfect Time to Re-Think the Legal Monopoly Known as the Bar

COVID-19 has delivered an occasional silver lining in the economic clouds troubling America. The most obvious is to highlight stupid regulations imposed to benefit special interests and their political enablers. Including members of the legal monopoly.

Professional regulation is supposed to protect the public. However, even doctors and lawyers, among many others, have used controls to limit competition for their services. They are even more insistent that other experienced and well-trained professionals — such as nurses and paralegals — be prevented from competing than that the occasional genuine incompetent be ferreted out.

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ANALYSIS: DOJ Investigators Involved in Antitrust Probe Don’t Appear to be Scrutinizing Claims of Bias in Google’s Search

by Peter Hasson and Chris White   Department of Justice investigators who are conducting an antitrust probe targeting Google do not appear to be scrutinizing claims that the tech giant manipulates its search function, leaks about the probe and a source familiar with it indicate. Google critics argue that Google…

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Attorneys General Give Conflicting Views on Future of Antitrust Probe Targeting Google as States Respond to Virus Spread

The attorneys general who are involved in an antitrust investigation targeting Google are weighing whether to press the accelerator on the probe or focus resources on the coronavirus response.

Google is doing everything it can to protect not only its employees, but also Americans, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry told the Daily Caller News Foundation. He is referring to what he said was the company’s work to help the Trump administration on the virus response.

Landry is one of the 33 attorneys general who is helping to spearhead the probe.

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Commentary: The Pandemic-Inspired Economic Shutdown Likely to Increase US Corporate Consolidation

This writer and others who for decades railed against outsourcing industries to the People’s Republic of China were long dismissed as crackpots and Luddites. Now many of those who were doing the dismissing have been forced to admit the true cost of cheap goods is very high.

The Chinese Communist Party virus has exposed many of our nation’s infirmities.

The most glaring is our dependence on Communist China for medicine, medical equipment, and so many other essential goods.

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Commentary: Student Frustration with the Flawed Textbook Market Is Justified

Dozens of student government executives wrote a letter recently urging the Department of Labor to block a merger between two giants of the textbook industry. In May, McGraw-Hill and Cengage announced they would be pursuing a merger. As two of the five major textbook publishers that currently have 80 percent of the market, this merger would form the second-largest textbook publisher in the US.

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SCOTUS: iPhone Users Can Sue Apple for App Monopoly

by Kevin Daley   The Supreme Court ruled Monday that iPhone users can bring an antitrust lawsuit against Apple alleging the tech giant has monopolized the market for software applications. Justice Brett Kavanaugh delivered the 5-4 decision, joined by the high court’s liberal bloc, which may have far-reaching consequences for Silicon Valley.…

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The AT&T-Time Warner Merger Approved, Mass Media Consolidation Could Lead the Way to One-Party Rule in the U.S.

ATT and Time Warner Cable

By Robert Romano   A vibrant and healthy democracy depends on the free marketplace of ideas. Call it what you want. Viewpoint diversity. Access to alternative views. In today’s media and information-driven society and culture, being able to find the opposing view on an issue, to compare the pros and cons…

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