American comedian John Oliver advocates dismantling the gloves on technology, claiming that Big Tech stifles the kind of innovation that everyone claims to value.


American comedian John Oliver used his show “Last Week Tonight” to expose alleged anti-competitive behavior by Big Tech on Sunday night and advocate for new antitrust bills, including the American Innovation and Choice Act (AICO) and the ” Law of Open Markets of Applications”. Whether it’s Apple and Google making huge sums of money from app store sales or Amazon’s stranglehold on online sellers, Oliver explained how the power of these companies can stifle innovation and how policymakers could shake up the industry.

Oliver explained how big tech companies rule the internet. Busting a monopoly is almost always a good thing, whether it’s AT&T, Standard Oil, or any Monopoly game. When harmful monopolies end, innovation flourishes, he said. He is referring to AT&T, because until the 1980s, the US telecommunications operator had a monopoly on all phone services in the country. Oliver recalled that once AT&T was dismantled, prices fell and innovation exploded, resulting in advances like answering machines and modems.

In fact, the takedown would have helped make the ubiquity of the Internet possible. The comedian devoted 25 minutes of his latest show Last Week Tonight to the “general evil” of Big Tech and argued for two landmark antitrust bills currently before Congress. It focused on claims by advocacy groups and small businesses that giants like Google and Meta, the parent company of Facebook, engage in self-referential and anti-competitive behavior that promotes their products and services and reinforces their status as peerless dominators.

During the show, he attacked Apple’s approximately 30% commission on the App Store (called the “Apple tax” by critics), which he jokingly called “blood money”. He then attacked Google, which he criticized for having “exploited its dominant market position” in search. Researchers estimate that Google has more than 90% of the search market share. Oliver also cited a study that found that two-thirds (about 66%) of all Google searches never result in a user leaving a related Google property.

Imagine you are searching for a cooking recipe on Google and are directed to a YouTube video owned by Alphabet. According to the comedian, it is self-referential in action. The practice is that companies unfairly promote their own products on their own platforms. “Google’s algorithm shouldn’t be determining if someone’s business is real or not,” Oliver said, referring to companies like Yelp. They accused Google of stealing their content and alleged that the tech giant’s self-referencing limited their visibility and reach.

Apple, for example, prevents iPhone users from downloading apps anywhere other than its App Store, where Apple apps always appear first in searches. Most notably, Oliver took aim at Amazon, which has come under heavy criticism for allegedly prioritizing its own product brands over smaller competitors, which has the effect of crowding out small businesses. In fact, it’s Amazon’s playing field, it sets the rules and seems to win most of the time. If they compete with you, you’re pretty much dead,” Oliver said.

He also added that Amazon is basically the only place you can sell anything on the internet. unless you’re looking to get rid of some human teeth, because then Craigslist is in order, baby! , he said. In 2020, the House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Business, and Administrative Law released a 450-page report alleging that Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet (the parent company of Google) routinely engage in anticompetitive behavior to preserve their monopolies. incredibly lucrative.

For example, according to the report, 65-70% of all purchases made on online marketplaces in the United States are made through Amazon. A recent analysis showed that Amazon directs shoppers to products sold by Amazon 40% of the time, and when it directs to another supplier, nine times out of ten, it is a supplier that uses Amazon shipping services. And that’s not to mention the roughly 160,000 products that Amazon makes and promotes, some of which are believed to be cheap counterfeits of products made by small businesses that are then unable to sell their products.

While Oliver acknowledged that Apple and Google have made small reforms in recent years, he said they only came after relentless pressure from activists and numerous lawsuits. He also criticized recent arguments by Big Tech against new antitrust measures, including the American Innovation and Choice Act (AICO) and the Applications Open Markets Act. “These bills would once again open the door to innovation and return the Internet to what it was meant to be from the beginning: a revolutionary tool that has expanded global access to information,” added Oliver.

For example, the AICO would prohibit Amazon from favoring its own private label products over those of independent sellers. The Open Application Markets Act would require Apple and Google to allow users to install third-party apps without going through their app stores. The bills have bipartisan support, but Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has yet to call them up for a vote. He had promised to introduce them “early summer,” but nothing has been scheduled as Congress prepares to vote on a bipartisan gun control bill.

Oliver’s show also drew praise from some consumer advocacy groups and small tech companies that have spent years exposing Big Tech’s anti-competitive practices and unconscionable political power. Fight for the Future, a leading advocate of antitrust reform , spoke out in favor of the show due to its clear presentation of alleged harm caused by tech companies and highlighting the CEO’s family ties. legislation would attempt to target.

A crystal clear explanation of the evils of monopoly and Big Tech self-representation, with epic demonstrations of Big Tech’s lies,” tweeted Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future. Greer pointed to a 2017 Last Week Tonight story about net neutrality, which he said played a big role in galvanizing public support for the issue. It’s possible, Greer added, that this week’s episode could ignite a similar spark for antitrust reform. However, Big Tech is doing everything it can to prevent these bills from seeing the light of day.

Last week, a report revealed that Big Tech has already spent about $36 million on ads to sabotage the AICO bill, while proponents of the measure have spent just $200,000 to support it. The spending is one of the biggest ad campaigns by the tech industry powerhouse in recent years and reflects its fear of the disruptive potential of tougher antitrust laws. One of the associations that has spent the most on these lobbying campaigns is the international association “Computing and Communications Industry Association” (CCIA).

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