Democrats on the House Judiciary antitrust panel circulated the draft bills to potential co-sponsors this week. They hope to lure at least some GOP members into supporting the bills, particularly Colorado Rep. Ken Buck, a critic of the large tech companies and the top Republican on the panel.
“This is a significant change,” William Kovacic, a former Federal Trade Commission chair who now sits on the board of the U.K.’s competition authority. “This is not traditional antitrust law. This is a broader concept of competition policy that borrows some antitrust concepts, but relies on a broader notion on what behavior for individual firms is inappropriate.”
Adam Kovacevich of the tech-backed lobbying group Chamber of Progress charged that some of the bills would effectively ban popular offerings such as Amazon’s free Prime shipping service or practices like Google putting its maps at the top of search results.
“Banning conveniences like Amazon Basics brand batteries, Apple’s Find My Phone tool, or Google Maps appearing in Google search results are ideas that would spark a consumer backlash,” said Kovacevich, whose group is backed by Amazon, Facebook and Google. “These proposals inexplicably target a bunch of technological conveniences that most people really like.”
He said some of the Democrats’ other proposals “are relatively uncontroversial ideas,” such as increasing funding for antitrust agencies or making it easier for users to take their data with them when…