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US Antitrust Bill Sparks A Growth In Tech Lobbying

 |  June 6, 2022

Amazon and Alphabet are spearheading what is shaping up to be the most intense political campaign by corporate America in recent history as part of a last-ditch attempt to stop Congress from passing laws to curb their market power. 

The companies are targeting a “self-preferencing” bill which would prevent large online platforms from using their dominance in one field to give other products an unfair advantage — for example, Alphabet using its Google search engine to promote its travel or shopping products. 

If the bill goes through, it is likely to lend momentum to a wave of legislation aimed at strengthening America’s competition rules, in what could be the biggest update of the country’s antitrust rules in a generation. 

“This is one of the most significant campaigns that we have run in recent years,” said Matt Schruers, president of the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which has co-ordinated the tech industry’s response to the bill. “That is because there has never been so serious a proposal to undermine US competitiveness and put US users at risk.” 

Those on the other side see the lobbying is aimed at shoring up the dominance of the big tech groups. “The internet giants are in Yolo [you only live once] mode — they are desperate and are doing whatever they can to change the trajectory,” said Luther Lowe, senior vice-president of public policy at Yelp, which has lobbied in favour of the bill.

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