By Jaydeep Saha, Contributing Writer, HCL Technologies Ltd.
The now on-hold $44 billion takeover of Twitter has reignited the discussion over Big Tech’s dominance, with issues of stifling innovation and crowding out the competition remaining a challenge for global regulatory bodies.
Twitter deal temporarily on hold pending details supporting calculation that spam/fake accounts do indeed represent less than 5% of usershttps://t.co/Y2t0QMuuyn
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 13, 2022
From e-commerce to search engines, the Big Tech companies, namely Apple, Amazon, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Meta (formerly Facebook), have total dominance in the respective sectors.
Regulation is trying to catch up to address these challenges.
A CNN opinion piece recently commented: “The best response to Musk's takeover of Twitter is for lawmakers to pass the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA, S. 2992) and the Open App Markets Act (OAMA, S. 2710).”
What is OAMA and what will it do
It will loosen Google and Apple's duopolistic dominance on app markets
The grip unfairly disadvantages small developers by requiring them to pay rent to have their app usable on most people's phones.
OAMA would force Apple to allow alternative app stores
Enable developers to escape their notorious 30% commission on everything that happens within their restrictive App Store
It would require Google and Apple to allow people to choose what software to run on devices that they own
What is AICOA and what will it do
AICOA is a broader piece of legislation that would prevent the biggest tech monopolies from prioritizing their own products at the expense of alternatives
It would crack down on tech giants which use their massive data harvesting operation to make cheaper versions of popular products and then preference them in search results
These antitrust bills would help rein in tech monopolies and introduce alternative platforms to the status quo. The proposed laws would aim to promote healthy competition and provide a chance for new business models to flourish.
UK looks to rein in Big Tech
The US is not alone when it comes to regulating Big Tech.
BBC News recently reported that the UK government has set out a plan to rein in Big Tech.
Tech giants, soon, will have to abide by new competition rules or face huge penalties.
The newly formed Digital Markets Unit will look to stop the “predatory practices” of some firms. This new regulator will be given the power to fine companies up to 10 percent of their turnover if they fail to comply with the new rules.
Besides heavy fines, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said that tech firms could also be fined five percent of their daily global turnover for each day an offence continues. The rules aim to give users more data control and boost competition among tech firms.
"Senior managers will face civil penalties if their firms fail to engage properly with requests for information," a UK government official told BBC News.
"The dominance of a few (American) tech giants is crowding out competition and stifling innovation," Digital Minister Chris Philp told BBC News. He added that the government wants to "level the playing field."