Apple is able to give preferential treatment to some of its own offerings for example Apple Music versus Spotify. Amazon can do the same with its Amazon products. This is the weak spot that lawmakers are targeting and it has potentially wide-reaching implications.
I like Amazon’s in-house products even though competitors to Amazon cry foul. Yes, Amazon can see the commercial activity of products and then check those products against suppliers and what they can produce those products for. In some cases, Amazon sees high prices for some products and they can sell competing products for less and so they do it. This is a benefit for consumers and results in lower prices. Now, if Amazon is outsourcing and offshoring the production of these products to China, Vietnam, India, and elsewhere that is causing a loss of U.S. jobs, then the practice needs to be stopped. I think that’s what needs to be measured. However, if China has decimated U.S. competition after years of dumping and other unfair actions not enforced by the WTO if Amazon can come in and see a market dominated by the Chinese and can produce the products in America cheaper and bring jobs back to America, then the practice should be allowed to continue.
Everything these tech companies do needs to be measured against whether they create or reduce American jobs IMO. For example, if tech companies are using work visas to import tech workers from India and elsewhere so that they don’t have to pay U.S. workers a higher wage, that eliminates U.S. jobs and therefore that practice needs to be stopped.
The overall utilitarian benefit to U.S. society has to be examined when crafting legislation that governs big tech. What the U.S. government does not want to do is to break up big tech and thus give a competitive advantage to Chinese, Ireland, or Indian big tech companies. It’s a complex issue for sure but the sway should be determined by if it creates or destroys U.S. jobs, and not by CEO bonuses and stock performance IMO.
A House panel in the U.S. Congress is set to propose sweeping reforms to block tech giants, like Amazon and Apple, from selling their own products on the marketplaces they own. That’s according to a critique of recommendations by a Republican lawmaker. If they come to pass, the reforms would be the most dramatic overhaul of competition law in decades. Bloomberg Opinion columnist Alex Webb discusses the proposals on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.” The opinions expressed are his own.