Years ago, John Oliver galvanized his… Last week tonight viewers to join the fight for net neutrality — sparking a deluge of comments that wrecked the Federal Communications Commission website in 2014. Last night, he turned his attention to some upcoming technology antitrust laws.
On his Sunday night show, Oliver explained how big tech companies rule the internet. From Apple and Google slashing huge cuts in app store sales to Amazon’s stranglehold on the online seller’s market, Oliver outlined how the power of these companies could stifle innovation and how lawmakers could shake up the industry.
“The problem with having a few companies control entire sectors of our economy is that it limits the capabilities of startups,” Oliver said. “An innovative app or website or startup may never get off the ground because it could be overloaded, buried in search results, or completely ripped off.”
In particular, Oliver noted two bills that made their way through Congress to curb this anticompetitive behavior, including the American Choice and Innovation Act (AICO) and the Open App Markets Act.
These measures would prevent major tech companies from recommending their own services and requiring developers to sell their apps exclusively on a company’s app store. For example, AICO would prohibit Amazon from preferring its own private label products over those of independent sellers. The Open App Markets Act would force Apple and Google to allow users to install third-party apps without using their app stores.
“These bills would open the door for innovation and bring the internet back to what it should have been from the beginning,” Oliver said.
While Republicans and Democrats support the bills, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has yet to call them to vote. Earlier this year, Schumer promised to bring them forward before “early summer,” but nothing is planned as Congress prepares to vote on a bipartisan gun control bill.
Activists, such as Evan Greer of Fight for the Future and Luther Lowe, Yelp’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy, were excited about Oliver’s Sunday segment. “Stop what you’re doing and look at this”, Lowe tweeted on Monday†