By: Editorial Staff, Date: April 18th, 2022
If some remember, when the federal government decided to tear apart AT&T, better known as Ma Bell at the time, it pretty much utilized the anti-trust statutes to break the phone company apart and dissolve its monopoly. The same dormant muscle is starting to twitch again when it comes to monster tech companies like Google and Amazon. Both corporations have grown to an immense size, and that has given the current Administration, particularly, the Justice Department, the impetus to prevent the tech giants from unfairly favoring their products and services over their competitors.
Anti-Trust Power is Powerful
Given the history with the phone company, which was a well-established monopoly for decades, high tech isn’t immune to the anti-trust risk, and with the DOJ angling for a legislative ban on these companies, it doesn’t look good for tech industry from a regulatory perspective.
A Game of Timing
The practical question is how much can be done during the Biden Administration before another election and a potential change in the White House to a business-friendly leadership? This is the gamble the two big tech giants are most likely discussing. Can they afford a waiting game, outlasting the efforts of the DOJ with court maneuvering? Or do they risk the chance Biden lasts another term and the companies find themselves in the target scope in his second term for sure? It depends on what Congress does with the issue. If the legislative body moves and passes laws restricting what Amazon and Google can favor in their activities, then their days are numbered.
If, on the other hand, Congress does not go along with the DOJ’s anti-trust view of big tech, then DOJ is left to work with existing law, which isn’t enough for them to act right now. Lobbyists are likely scrambling in overtime to shore up tech support to fend off the DOJ proposal. Dubbed as the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, DOJ’s proposal is a significant threat, but the extent is debatable so far; to date, no one has voted for it.