Microsoft was sent an advance copy of new antitrust legislation, a document given to GOP Congressman Thomas Massie by an anonymous whistleblower seems to show.
The document is the previous version of the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, which is one of Democrats’ six in-progress antitrust bills aimed at Big Tech, according to Congressman Thomas Massie. Every section of the document, which was released on Wednesday, is watermarked with the phrase “CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.”
“I just got a document that everyone needs to see., Massie said on Wednesday. “It’s watermarked ‘CONFIDENTIAL – Microsoft.’ A whistleblower gave this to me. It’s the initial draft of one of these antitrust bills that would cover Microsoft. This leads us to question: did Microsoft have the bill we are voting on today before we had it?”
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) June 23, 2021
The original version of the bill that Microsoft apparently obtained had a much lower threshold for deciding which Big Tech companies would be affected by the bill, the whistleblower document shows. In comparison, the new version of the bill says that platforms with 50 million monthly users and higher would come under these antitrust regulations, the original version given by the whistleblower set that number to 500,000.
The monthly active users alteration means Microsoft’s services would be exempt from being affected by these regulations, Massie said during the hearing. He asked other lawmakers if any other Big Tech company was now exempted from regulations due to these changes.
“We did not seek an exclusion from the bills., Microsoft spokesperson Jennifer Crider said.
Crider then added that Microsoft Windows has over 50 million active monthly users.
However, another alteration to the previous version possibly exempts Windows from regulation. The first version described an “online platform” as an “operating system” while the new version described it as a “mobile operating system.”
Democrats first revealed their antitrust bills previously this month. The legislation, which is getting bipartisan support, could allegedly lead to prosecutors breaking up tech companies.
These large tech companies “have too much power” over the economy, David Cicilline, the Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman, said in a comment.
Author: Scott Dowdy