A new antitrust bill could pose a huge threat to Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook, with potential fines of up to 15% of annual revenue

  • Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced a sweeping new antitrust bill on Thursday.
  • It would grant enforcement agencies more power to levy bigger fines on companies breaking competition rules.
  • Klobuchar has said she wants to regulate Big Tech in particular.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar on Thursday introduced an antitrust bill that, if passed, could have huge ramifications for Big Tech companies.

As reported by CNBC, the proposed “Competition and Antitrust Law Enforcement Reform Act” would make sweeping changes to antitrust law, granting enforcement agencies more powers to impose bigger fines and shifting the burden of proof for companies over mergers.

Per Protocol, the bill would give the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) a lot more power to penalise companies financially if they break competition rules. Currently, the maximum fine for these breaches is $US100 million — the bill would let the DOJ and FTC impose fines of up to 15% of a company’s annual revenue, massively boosting the size of potential fines for the biggest tech companies, whose revenues stretch into the tens of billions.

The bill would also force large companies to prove any acquisition of a smaller company is above-board, rather than relying on government agencies to prove wrongdoing.

The bill would also give extra resources to enforcement agencies, granting the FTC and the DOJ’s Antitrust Division an extra $US300 million per year.

Klobuchar was recently appointed chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, and last week she singled out Big Tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, as a primary focus.

“While we’ve seen this enormous change in our economy, we really are not as sophisticated as the companies that we should be regulating,” Klobuchar said during a keynote speech at the State of the Net Conference. “We need to start by working to strengthen antitrust enforcement and making it more effective.”


Read more:
Meet the corporate lobbying powerhouses that bankrolled Joe Biden’s star-studded, fireworks-filled inauguration bash

Big Tech has come under increasing antitrust scrutiny from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — although Republicans and Democrats have fought over exactly how, and for what reason, regulation should be reformed.

Google is currently the subject of a major antitrust investigation by the Department of Justice(DOJ), and Klobuchar said in November she believed breaking the company up should be an option available to regulators.

Facebook is also being investigated by the FTC and 46 attorneys general over its acquisitions.

Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook were the subject of a 450-page House Judiciary report in October, in which lawmakers compared them to “the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.”