Report: Google Warns Businesses About Antitrust Bills

Google is targeting small and medium-sized businesses in an attempt to build support against lawmakers’ plans to go after Big Tech companies, Axios reported Thursday.

Congressional legislators from both parties earlier this month signaled their support for new restrictions and regulations on major technology companies, such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple.

Google on Thursday warned some customers that antitrust bills targeting Big Tech could jeopardize services on which smaller businesses rely, Axios reported.

The Mountain View, California-based tech giant emailed businesses that use its advertising, analytics, and free business profile tools, to tell them antitrust bills in the House and Senate could “cost your business time and money,” Axios said.

“[W]e’re concerned that Congress’ controversial package of bills could have unintended consequences, especially for small businesses who have relied on digital tools to adapt, recover and reach new customers throughout the pandemic,” a Google spokesperson told Axios.

Google said proposed legislation could make it more difficult for customers to find businesses because listings might be omitted from Google Search results or on Google Maps, and that digital marketing could be impacted if Google Ads products were disconnected from Google Analytics.

Amazon also warned clients that antitrust legislation could jeopardize its ability to host their businesses on its platform.

An aide to a Republican lawmaker, however, told Axios that nothing in the bill would force Amazon to boot third-party sellers off its platform. If anything, the aide added, the legislation would stop businesses such as Amazon from favoring their own products and services.

Earlier this month, Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., led a group of lawmakers that came out in support of a new bill to restrict online platforms from favoring products or services that they make.  

Mark Isakowitz, Google’s vice president of government affairs and public policy, said the legislation “would break a wide range of helpful services from leading American companies, while making those services less safe, less private and less secure,” Axios said.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee also released a bill aimed at discouraging the promotion of harmful content on social media.

Google launched a website about the legislation and urged its small and medium-sized business customers to sign up to receive more information about the bills, Axios said.

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