Years ago, John Oliver galvanized his Last week tonight viewers will join the fight for net neutrality – sparking a flood of comments that shattered the website in 2014. Last night it turned its attention to a pair of upcoming tech antitrust bills.
During his Sunday night show, Oliver explained how big tech companies rule the internet. From Apple and Google taking huge cuts in App Store sales to Amazon’s stranglehold on the market for online sellers, Oliver pointed out how the power of these companies could stifle innovation and how lawmakers could shake up the industry.
“The problem with letting a few companies control entire sectors of our economy is that it limits what is possible by startups,” Oliver said. “An innovative app, website or start-up may never take off because it could be overcharged to death, buried in search results or completely ripped off. »
Specifically, Oliver noted two bills pending in Congress aimed at curbing such anti-competitive behavior, including the American Choice and Innovation Act (AICO) and the Open Application Marketplaces Act.
These measures would prevent big tech companies from recommending their own services and force developers to exclusively sell their apps on a company’s App Store. For example, AICO would prohibit Amazon from favoring its own private label products over those of independent sellers. The Open App Markets Act would require Apple and Google to allow users to install third-party apps without using their app stores.
“These bills would open the door to innovation and bring the internet back to what it was meant to be from the start,” Oliver said.
While Republicans and Democrats back the bills, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has yet to call them to a vote. Earlier this year, Schumer promised to introduce them for “early summer,” but nothing has been scheduled as Congress prepares to vote on a bipartisan gun control bill.
Activists, like Evan Greer of Fight for the Future and Luther Lowe, senior vice president of public policy at Yelp, were thrilled with Oliver’s Sunday segment. “Stop what you’re doing and watch this. » Lowe tweeted on Monday.