Bulletins

Tech groups lash out at 'rushed' Senate antitrust plans

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a markup on its antitrust bill Thursday. Tech groups argue the bill deserves a hearing.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is a co-sponsor on the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

Photo: Tom Williams/Getty Images

Lobbying groups for top tech firms are pushing back against the Senate Judiciary Committee's plan to mark up a bipartisan antitrust bill on Thursday. The groups, including TechNet, Chamber of Progress, NetChoice and others, charged the committee with rushing the bill through without a substantive hearing process.


"This bill deserves a thoughtful policy discussion around its impact to our economy, user privacy, consumer harms, national security, and American competitiveness instead of being rushed through the markup process without a single hearing," TechNet SVP Carl Holshouser said in a written statement. "We urge the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights to hold hearings to learn more about potential unintended consequences of the legislation."

The Judiciary Committee did hold a series of hearings on competition and antitrust legislation last year, but none, tech groups argue, focused specifically on the bill at hand: the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.

The bill, co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Chuck Grassley, would prohibit dominant platforms from giving their own products a boost on those platforms — a rule that would take direct aim at alleged self-preferencing by juggernauts like Amazon and Google. “For too long, tech giants have used their power to suppress their rivals, unfairly put their products first in their marketplaces, and force sellers on their platforms to buy more services from them in exchange for better placement on their site," Klobuchar said in a statement announcing the markup. "A broad, bipartisan group of our colleagues agree and have signed on to our legislation to implement common sense rules of the road for these platforms."

Tech groups argue such a law would dramatically upend how the average American uses online services. “Sen. Klobuchar herself has marketed the American Innovation and Choice Online Act as highly important and critical to America’s economic future, so it’s clear such a bill requires a committee hearing to tailor and discuss the proposal,” Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, said in a statement.

A similar bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Reps. David Cicilline and Ken Buck, has already passed out of the House Judiciary Committee.

While tech groups have mostly sounded the alarm on how the bill would impact the tech industry, one group, Chamber of Progress, warned Tuesday of the impact the law could have not just on tech, but on Democrats' prospects in November. “Breaking Amazon Prime during an election year would be an even bigger political disaster for Democrats than rising inflation or closed schools,” Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich said in a statement. “If lawmakers want to regulate the tech industry, they should tackle popular issues like cybersecurity or privacy, not break two-day shipping.”

Latest Bulletins

Outgoing Airbnb policy chief Chris Lehane confirmed in a tweet Friday that he is joining Katie Haun's crypto fund.

Keep Reading Show less

Crisis Text Line, a nonprofit that uses text messaging to help people struggling with suicide and other mental health issues, has been sharing data collected during those text conversations with a for-profit spinoff. The spinoff, Loris.ai, uses that data to create customer service software and has a revenue-sharing agreement with Crisis Text Line, according to a new POLITICO investigation.

Keep Reading Show less

If a friend contacts you on Facebook asking to be more than friends, maybe think twice about why they’re not texting — or calling — you instead. Romance fraud is rampant on social media, and it’s gotten even bigger in 2021, according to a report from the Federal Trade Commission.

Keep Reading Show less

For many users around the world, WhatsApp is the internet. It's where more than 2 billion people chat with their friends, order food, send money, shop for clothes and much more. It has become a true super app, similar to WeChat in China, for a huge number of users.

Keep Reading Show less

The question of "is sending a Calendly link rude?" comes up often enough that the scheduling app has a whole blog post and ebook addressing it. The latest Twitter debate stems from a post by former Facebook VP Sam Lessin calling Calendly "The Most Raw / Naked Display of Social Capital Dynamics in Business."

Keep Reading Show less

Robinhood shares plunged late Thursday, falling below $10 after the company reported disappointing results and a revenue outlook that well below what Wall Street was expecting.

Keep Reading Show less

A New York law taking effect May 7 requires employers to disclose electronic monitoring of their workers. This is similar to workplace monitoring laws already in effect in Connecticut since 1998 and Delaware since 2017. Federally, employers may spy on their employees as they perform work duties.

Keep Reading Show less

Proponents of the America Competes Act of 2022, introduced this week in the U.S. House of Representatives, said the legislation would make the U.S. supply chain stronger and help the country's technology industry compete with China. The crypto industry is worried the sector will be collateral damage.

Keep Reading Show less

Tesla has sued a Chinese car influencer with 14 million followers for defamation, the company’s Chinese office confirmed to several media outlets on Wednesday. It’s the latest example of Tesla striking back at popular allegations in China about its safety issues, particularly around brake malfunctions.

Keep Reading Show less

Google is increasing its leave benefits for parents, parents who give birth and those caring for seriously ill loved ones, the company announced Thursday.

Keep Reading Show less

SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure may step down as soon as today, CNBC reported.

Keep Reading Show less

In Tesla's fourth-quarter earnings call Thursday, Elon Musk said the company won’t produce any new models this year.

Tesla reported overall strong earnings with revenue growing 65% year-over-year in the quarter, and automotive revenue rising to $15.97 billion. Musk addressed a range of issues during the call, including the persistent chip shortage, supply chain concerns and Tesla’s autonomous vehicle push.

Keep Reading Show less

Regulators in China said today they will allow AMD to acquire Xilinx, the Wall Street Journal reports. It’s the last regulatory hurdle the company needed to cross to complete the largest deal in its history.

Keep Reading Show less

About 100 company leaders are pressing their colleagues to improve the workplace for people with disabilities and evaluate their inclusion of people with disabilities, Disability:IN announced Thursday.

The letter’s newest signatories of the “CEOs Are IN” campaign include the heads of Micron Technology, Tripadvisor and other tech and health care professionals. Accenture, Intel and Microsoft are among the first companies to back the letter when it was first released in 2019. These companies pledged to make disability inclusion a business priority by participating in an assessment of their disability inclusion and equality practices.

Disability:IN CEO Jill Houghton said focusing on diversity, equity and inclusion efforts will help create sustainable companies, especially in light of the Great Resignation. “By encouraging CEOs to make disability inclusion a business priority, these 101 signatories are joining IN to positively transform lives and create financial and social impact,” Houghton said in a release.

The signatories pledged to take part in the Disability Equality Index, which is administered by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Participants of the assessment receive a score between 0 and 100, with scores over 80 indicating that they are the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion,” according to the release. The DEI looks at criteria within six categories including culture and leadership, community engagement and supplier diversity. The organization added questions related to board diversity this year, and the findings from those questions will be released in July, according to Disability:IN's Houghton.

Of the 319 companies that took the examination last year, 272 scored 80 or above, Houghton said. Adobe, Dell and Cisco were among dozens of companies to receive a score of 100 in 2021; Amazon and VMware were given scores of 90%; and Snap, Micron and Workday received scores of 80%. Registration for the Disability Equality Index is currently open, and results are released in July.

The Diem Association, a Meta-backed crypto project, is winding down and selling its technology to Silvergate Capital for $200 million, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

The Amazon Labor Union has reportedly gotten a "sufficient showing of interest" in holding a union election among JFK8 warehouse employees in Staten Island, New York.

Keep Reading Show less

Shares of LendingClub fell in after-hours trading Wednesday after posting weaker-than-expected revenue outlook, despite reporting strong results. The fall below $20 wiped out almost all the gains the company saw in a rally that ran from July to November as its neobank strategy showed strength, taking shares from around $16 to as high as $49. With inflation on the rise and other threats looming, that strategy's freshly in question.

Keep Reading Show less

A Walmart-backed fintech startup is buying two companies in an effort to become the latest super app to handle all of a consumer's financial needs.

Keep Reading Show less

UBS is buying robo-adviser Wealthfront for $1.4 billion, the financial services giant said Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less

Amazon has stopped paying warehouse workers to sing the company's praises on social media, according to the Financial Times.

Keep Reading Show less

The Business Roundtable, whose members include more than 230 CEOs of some of the world’s largest companies, want “rational” and “flexible” government regulations for AI. The group, which includes CEOs of tech, financial services and defense industry giants such as 3M, Amazon, Bank of America, Google, Mastercard, Northrop Grumman, Oracle and Verizon, published a set of guidelines Wednesday for businesses implementing AI and recommendations for policymakers.

Keep Reading Show less

Google broke the internet last year with its plan to break the internet last year.

Of course, I’m talking about FLoC, Google’s poorly named plan to kill off the third-party cookie and allow advertisers to target “cohorts” of anonymous users instead. It managed to piss off everyone, with privacy groups calling it invasive and the ad industry calling it anticompetitive.

Keep Reading Show less

The Diem Association, a controversial Meta-backed cryptocurrency project, is reportedly looking to sell its assets to return capital to investors, Bloomberg reported.

Keep Reading Show less

Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that he is talking to the U.S. about a possible Russian ban from the SWIFT system, which undergirds global payments. Amid increasing threats of a Ukraine invasion, Western governments are looking for deterrence measures.

Keep Reading Show less

Russia’s Ministry of Finance is opposed to the Central Bank of Russia’s proposed crypto ban, calling for regulation instead of a complete ban.

Keep Reading Show less
Bulletins