Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), not a fan of Big Tech, is looking to stop large firms from growing more through acquisitions. On the day that Microsoft announced its second largest deal ever, a $19.7 billion acquisition of speech recognition and AI firm Nuance, Hawley said that he introduced a bill that would ban all mergers and acquisitions made by any firm with a market value greater than $100 billion. Hawley's bill would have blocked Microsoft from purchasing Nuance.
At the $100 billion threshold, the top five tech firms would be banned from taking part in any mergers and acquisitions. Those five companies include Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet's Google unit, and Facebook. The bill would also block their platforms from favoring their own products ahead of those offered by rivals.
Hawley says that he supports an antitrust bill that was written in February by Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar. The latter's bill includes some proposed rules against Big Tech that match Hawley's own bill. " Calling his proposal "significantly tougher" than Klobuchar's, the junior senator from Missouri said of Klobuchar, "I’m willing to work with her and anybody of any party and any background. I like a lot of what Senator Klobuchar has proposed."
The Senator, whose defense of the "Big Lie," branded him as one of the instigators of the January 6th attack on the Capitol, said that he has yet to make a final decision on whether to support tech critic Lina Khan who was nominated for a seat as a commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Khan is considered to be a progressive which places her on the opposite end of the political spectrum than Hawley although both share the same negative viewpoint about large tech companies. In the House, a series of antitrust bills are expected to be introduced by Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island.
It appears that working on legislation against Big Tech is a bipartisan pastime on Capitol Hill.