Consumer Reports supports AICO and applauds this bipartisan effort to address the problematic market power of the largest online platforms. Our four-page primer on AICO can be downloaded here.
At present there are simply too many roadblocks hindering innovation by competitors. Without meaningful action, we are limiting the choices available to consumers. And Americans have noticed: according to a 2020 CR survey, around 3 out of 4 Americans worry about the power wielded by today’s biggest tech platforms, and 60 percent supported government action to mitigate harmful conduct.
Setting fair market rules to prohibit discriminatory conduct by giant platforms will result in more competition and innovation, which will bring many benefits for consumers, including improved privacy and security. And in our view AICO has sufficient provisions against unintended effects, and the latest amendments further clarify these safeguards.
Throughout our 80+ year history, Consumer Reports has emphasized the fundamental importance of competition for ensuring a marketplace that works for consumers, and for all who seek to reach them. A competitive marketplace empowers consumers with the leverage of choice and the ability to go elsewhere for a better deal, so businesses must be responsive to consumers’ interests. Addressing dominant online platforms’ gatekeeper role and lowering barriers to entry is crucial to achieving a healthy marketplace for consumers and businesses.
We have a unique opportunity to pass this well-crafted and focused legislation which has changed and improved over the last year in response to feedback. The legislation is popular and on balance will benefit consumers and society.
We urge you to support and vote yes on this bill.
Senior Researcher, Consumer Reports
PS: We also support the complementary Open App Markets Act – our primer on S.2710 / H.R.7030 can be downloaded here.