What you need to know
- President Joe Biden is expected to sign a sweeping executive order later today, targeting Big Tech's anticompetitive practices.
- The order will call on regulators to examine large mergers and acquisitions more closely.
- It will also encourage the FTC to create rules on the accumulation of data and surveillance by Big Tech platforms.
President Joe Biden will sign a new executive order on "promoting competition in the American economy" later today. The order aims to address the lack of competition in Big Tech, financial services, healthcare, and several other sectors.
According to a fact sheet released by the White House on Friday morning, the sweeping order includes a total of 72 initiatives by over a dozen federal agencies to "tackle some of the most pressing competition problems."
The order says leading tech platforms have acquired hundreds of small companies in the last decade to "shut down" competitors. It calls for greater scrutiny of mergers and acquisitions, especially those involving nascent competitors. It also raises concerns about Big Tech platforms accumulating too much personal information from users. In the order, the President encourages the FTC to formulate new rules on surveillance and the accumulation of data by Big Tech.
Additionally, the order could bring an end to the unfair advantage that Big Tech platforms have over small businesses. The FTC has been asked to establish rules that would bar unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces. These rules would directly affect companies like Google and Facebook.
The Biden administration has also argued that phone manufacturers make repairs more expensive and time-consuming by restricting independent repair shops and DIY repairs. They do this by placing restrictions on the distribution of parts, diagnostics, and repair tools. The FTC has been encouraged to issue rules against these anticompetitive restrictions, which should make it a lot easier to repair the best Android phones and other mobile devices.
The news comes just days after a coalition of 37 state attorney generals filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google over anticompetitive practices on the Play Store. It alleges that Google favors its own apps over third-party apps and discourages third-party app stores on its platform.