The Department of Justice (DOJ) approves of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, according to a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal.
“The legislation, if enacted, would emphasize causes of action prohibiting the largest digital platforms from discriminating in favor of their own products or services, or among third parties,” says the letter, addressed to bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The legislation would control the country’s biggest tech companies and their ability to have unchecked monopolies over certain markets, like smart home devices or pre-installed phone software, areas heavily dominated by Google and Amazon. President Joe Biden has yet to fully endorse the bill, but the letter of support from the DOJ marks the first positive inklings from the Biden administration.
Another aspect of the legislation would impact tech companies’ ability to self-preference, something that has harmed smaller tech companies like DuckDuckGo.
Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Google oppose the proposed legislation, saying the law would make it harder to offer their services, and arguing they should be able to promote and show a preference for their own websites.
The bill adds to existing antitrust legislation, adding clarity to the kinds of conduct Congress views as anti-competitive and illegal. The Justice Department says that will “enhance the ability of the DOJ and [the Federal Trade Commission] to challenge that conduct.”
Last week, a coalition of tech companies announced an “Antitrust Day” to call on Congress to pass new antitrust legislation, including the AICOA.
“Reports from the United States and governments around the world reveal that a few large technology companies are abusing their dominant positions in the market to undermine competition, to the detriment of consumers and innovation,” the announcement states. “The antitrust bills would bar many of the anti-competitive tactics employed by these companies, helping to restore competition in the market, and ensure that consumers are unencumbered in choosing the services they want.”