Washington, DC (Aug. 11): A just-published think tank analysis of anti-Big Tech legislation concludes the House Judiciary Committee’s recently approved package of bills will cause havoc and collateral damage on small businesses. The report gives a C-minus grade to the “populist antitrust” theories reflected in the House legislation, which aims to rewrite the rules of American business to restrain large companies’ growth and success, without any evidence of consumer harm. The analysis from the Data Catalyst Institute, was commissioned by the Connected Commerce Council (3C).
“Congress is threatening to upend a century of antitrust precedent in their crusade against the tech companies that saved millions of small businesses during the pandemic and power millions more during our recovery,” said 3C President Jake Ward. “From the White House to the Federal Trade Commission to the halls of Congress, extremist antitrust policies won’t solve competition problems, but will instead create mountains of new problems for the small businesses policymakers claim they are protecting.”
“Populist antitrust” supporters believe breaking up companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple will help small businesses compete, but they ignore that the average small business has no desire to compete with “Big Tech.” The digital tools and services offered by America’s leading technology companies help small businesses compete against global brands and each other. The ability to use the free and low-cost digital tools to streamline operations, market and advertise online, and communicate with team members cheaply and effectively greatly benefits small businesses.
Data Catalyst Institute contends the legislation will make it harder for small businesses to operate. Large digital platforms’ size and interconnectedness allow small businesses to work seamlessly across multiple platforms affordably and efficiently. But if these companies are broken up the result will be higher prices and digital complexity. For example, separating Google Ads, Search, and Workspace (email, cloud storage, file sharing) into different companies will break a model that works, increase costs and lead to less effective tools and services for small businesses and consumers. The bills’ proponents would punish leading technology companies for the crime of being too big while ignoring the substantial benefits these companies provide small businesses nationwide.
Digital tools also proved critical to small business survival during COVID-19. A recent study showed that nearly 11 million small businesses would have closed all or part of their business during COVID-19 without access to digital tools.
“The proposed bills would make for a more volatile and uncertain business environment for small businesses. If Members of Congress are serious about helping Main Street businesses, they should talk to small business owners about what they need instead of forcing game-changing regulations on them that no one wants,” added Ward.