New York announces landmark bill to address anticompetitive behaviour

Tyrone Stewart

The state of New York is working toward the introduction of legislation that would make it easier to sue major tech companies for abuses of power.

The bill would mean an update to New York’s dated antitrust laws and make them more suitable for the economy we live in today. Current antitrust laws require two companies to conspire to conduct anticompetitive behaviour. As a result, it would currently be a struggle to prosecute a company for underpricing products to drive others out of the market, for instance.

“Their power has grown to dangerous levels and we need to start reining them in,” the bill’s sponsor, Senator Mike Gianaris, told The Guardian. “Our laws on antitrust in New York are a century old and they were built for a completely different economy. Much of the problem today in the 21st century is unilateral action by some of these behemoth tech companies and this bill would allow, for the first time, New York to engage in antitrust enforcement for unilateral action.”

New York’s Senate Consumer Protection Committee will likely continue the discussion around Senate Bill S8700A when New York’s Senate returns to work this month, but it’s unlikely any legislation will be passed until next year at the earliest.

The developments in New York come as US Congress continues its investigation into Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Apple over concerns around anticompetitive behaviour, which the CEOs of all four companies were grilled over last week.