U.S. House panel to vote on antitrust bills next week

FILE PHOTO: House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY), speaks during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Policing Practices and Law Enforcement Accountability" on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S. June 10, 2020. Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS/Files

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel next week will begin reviewing five recently introduced antitrust bills including several targeting the market power of Big Tech, Committee chair Jerry Nadler said on Wednesday.

Five antitrust bills were introduced last week in the House of Representatives. They will be marked up in committee to consider changes and then voted on by the panel to decide whether the full House should vote on the measures.

Two of the bills introduced last week address the issue of giant companies, such as Amazon.com Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google, creating a platform for other businesses and then competing against those same businesses.

These bills — one of which would force companies to sell businesses — have attracted the most opposition. Some pro-tech groups have said they could mean the end of popular promotions like Amazon Prime free shipping and iMessage in iPhones.

A third bill would require a platform to refrain from any merger unless it can show the acquired company does not compete with any product or service the platform is in. A fourth would require platforms to allow users to transfer their data elsewhere if they desire, including to a competing business.

The House members also introduced a fifth bill which is a companion to a Klobuchar measure that has already passed the Senate and would increase the budgets of antitrust enforcers and make companies planning the biggest mergers pay more. Observers have said that this bill was the most likely of the five to become law.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz, Editing by Franklin Paul and David Gregorio)

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