Recently, Congress has introduced several antitrust bills that seek to tightly regulate Big Tech companies in everything from anticompetitive mergers to preferential treatment for their own products and services. Both supporters and opponents of the legislation have differing views on the impact it will have if passed, sparking a fight for small business support.
The Big Tech companies against the legislation opine that if passed, it will actually stifle investments and competition on a global scale. The opponents also believe that the legislation will force tech giants to splinter their offerings and burden consumers with less seamless and more expensive online services, suggesting that Google might have to remove its map feature from its search engine, Amazon would have to stop its Prime subscription service, and Apple would have to remove functions like iMessage and FaceTime.
To further their efforts against the legislation, Big Tech companies have engaged small businesses to support their position through campaigns of petitions, email blasts, and video calls. Indeed, the Connected Commerce Council, a group funded by Google and Amazon, represents 15,000 small companies to lobby against the antitrust legislation. The small businesses opposed to the legislation believe this legislation puts their business in danger.
However, proponents of the legislation argue that the Big Tech companies are using scare tactics to elicit the support of these small businesses. For example, Google posted warnings to marketers and business owners who use the company’s tool for buying ads and promoting their businesses in search that the “proposed legislation could make it harder to find your business online.” Similarly, Amazon has sent email alerts to its 2 million retail, creative and tech partners information them that the legislation might force it to shut down its platform for sellers. Supporters of the legislation have accused the Big Tech companies of spreading baseless fears and stoking small businesses’ anxieties to dull the growing anti-monopoly momentum in Congress. They argue that these sort of scare tactics are exactly why the legislation is so necessary—to prevent these giant companies from cornering the online market and taking small businesses hostage.
Anti-monopoly groups have likewise gained their own supporters in other small business owners, who argue that putting limits on these Big Tech companies would allow for alternative and better ways to reach customers instead of giving small business owners no other choice but to rely on these big companies to survive. They maintain that the legislation is meant to protect small and medium sized businesses compete with large companies and expand choices for consumers. Additionally, they believe it will prevent Big Tech companies from using 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. They argue that these practices hurt both small businesses and consumers and it is time to hold these companies accountable.
Lowey Dannenberg antitrust class action lawyers represent individuals and institutions in antitrust class action cases nationwide. If you wish to speak to a member of Lowey Dannenberg’s antitrust practice group, please feel free to reach out to Christian Levis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Noelle Feigenbaum (email@example.com).