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Small Businesses Blast Big Tech Antitrust Bill

Capitol Hill
(Image credit: Gary Arlen)

The Connected Commerce Council (3C), which represents thousands of small businesses with a digital footprint — from juice bars and breweries to consignment shops and tattoo parlors — is pushing back on a Big Tech bill being marked up in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday (January 13).

“Millions of small businesses across the country have embraced digital tools and services provided by American technology companies and say they plan to continue using these tools and services that helped them get through the pandemic," said 3C executive director Rob Retzlaff. “Beltway insiders like Senators [Amy] Klobuchar and [Chuck] Grassley aren’t paying enough attention and seem to not understand how these companies provide affordable, scalable, and secure benefits that small businesses like to use to find success.”

The bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, was introduced back in October by Klobuchar (D-Minn.), chair of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and a self-described leading antitrust reformer, and Grassley (R-Iowa), the ranking member. It‘s one of many proposed bills to rein in Big Tech, and not the only one backed by Klobuchar.

The bill prevents an online platform from: 1) preventing a business from interoperating with another platform; 2) requiring a business to buy a dominant platform‘s wares to get preferred placement; 3) “misusing” a business‘s data to compete against it; and 4) from biasing search in their favor.

The bill only applies to larger platforms — like Amazon and Google — defined as “at least 50,000,000 U.S.-based monthly active users on the online platform; or has at least 100,000 U.S.-based monthly active business users on the online platform; or is a critical trading partner, defined as a person with the ability to impede access of a business user to its customers and users or to a tool or service it needs to serve those users or customers.” ■