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The Wall Street Journal: Justice Department backs antitrust bill targeting Apple, Amazon, Google

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department Monday endorsed legislation forbidding large digital platforms such as Amazon and Google from favoring their own products and services over competitors’, marking the Biden administration’s first full-throated support of the antitrust measure.

“The Department views the rise of dominant platforms as presenting a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy,” says a letter to bipartisan leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, signed by Peter Hyun, the Justice Department’s acting assistant attorney general for legislative affairs.

The letter, obtained by The Wall Street Journal, expresses support for the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which the Senate’s judiciary panel approved in January in a bipartisan vote, as well as similar legislation moving through the House.  

Amazon.com Inc.
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 Alphabet Inc.’s
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GOOG,
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Google, Apple Inc. 
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and others oppose the proposed legislation, saying it would make it harder to offer popular services. The bills’ opponents also say it is fair for e-marketplaces, search engines and app stores to profit off their creations’ popularity.

The department’s letter throws its weight behind a different view: that the platforms’ dominant position gives them unchecked power to influence the fate of other businesses, and that restricting the platforms’ conduct would carry significant benefits.

“Discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms can sap the rewards from other innovators and entrepreneurs, reducing the incentives for entrepreneurship and innovation,” the letter says.

An expanded version of this report appears on WSJ.com.

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