It’s never easy to differentiate, amid the hubbub of the day, a news item with far-reaching ramifications from something that will disappear into the ether. That’s particularly the case when we’re talking about bills introduced into Congress, which much of the time never seem to go anywhere. But the introduction today of legislation that would force Alphabet’s Google to divest major parts of its ad tech business seems like something the tech industry and investors need to be taking seriously.
As we reported in January, when we broke news of the proposed legislation, this could spark the biggest corporate breakup since the dismemberment of AT&T 40 years ago. And this bill, which both Republicans and Democrats back, wouldn’t just affect Google. If it becomes law, Meta Platforms would have to sell off parts of its ad business. It could also affect Amazon and maybe even Apple, we noted today. Our antitrust reporter, Josh Sisco, tells me that while the bill is unlikely to pass this year, it will resurface in the next Congress. And as Republicans are leading the way on the legislation, its chances of passing may be stronger if the Democrats lose control of Congress.