John Oliver called out the “anti-competitive conduct” of big tech, urging bipartisan support of bills that would help curb such behavior. (He also ridicules the ads that have popping up everywhere to whine about how unAmerican it would be!) Via the Guardian:
On Last Week Tonight, the host said that “our experiences on the internet are now dominated by a small handful of companies who are getting pretty used to throwing their weight around”.
He said that each of the big tech behemoths – Apple, Amazon and Google – act as “gatekeeper over a key channel of distribution” and end up “suppressing their competition so completely that we’d never actually know if someone else could do it better”.
There are two bills with bipartisan support that could curtail some of the excesses but Oliver said they need to pass in the next month or so.
He went into detail about how Google, Apple, and Amazon crush competitors. For instance, did you know if a business starts selling a popular item on Amazon, Amazon starts to make their own version and moves it further up in the search results?
The two bills before Congress are called the Open App Markets Act and the American Choice and Innovation Online Act. They “would address some of the problems” being mentioned and so “tech companies are fighting these bills hard”.
Oliver added: “These bills are narrow, arguably too narrow, but that is why they have broad bipartisan support.”
They have the support of both Senators Bernie Sanders and Josh Hawley, which is “the only thing they have in common” but 17 members of Congress have children who work or have worked for big tech, including two of Chuck Schumer’s daughters. Schumer is the person who needs to call these bills to a vote and if they are not addressed before the summer break, they will “probably be dead by the fall”.