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WASHINGTON — Democratic lawmakers are calling for Congress to rein in Big Tech, possibly forcing Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to sever their dominant platforms from their other lines of business and imposing new uniformity on the terms they offer users.

The proposals in a report issued Tuesday follow a 15-month investigation by the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, chaired by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, into the companies’ market dominance.

Those kinds of forced breakups through a legislative overhaul would be a radical step for Congress to take toward a powerful industry. The tech giants for decades have enjoyed light-touch regulation and star status in Washington, but have come under intensifying scrutiny and derision over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.

The 450-page report offers Congress a possible roadmap for action, potentially with a new balance of political power in Congress and a new president next year.

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Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) thinks antitrust regulation of Big Tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google is going to be tough, and in order to pass meaningful reforms that rein in the power of Big Tech companies, Congress will need the help of the American people. Cicilline is chair of the antitrust subcommittee in Congress and spoke Sunday as part of a Yale University School of Law conference about antitrust ahead of the anticipated release of what Cicilline calls the most extensive antitrust law reform investigation by Congress in more than 50 years.

Identifying anticompetitive behavior by big companies is pretty easy, he said, but developing solutions and gathering the necessary political support for reform is the challenge.

“We’re going to have to combat companies that have an enormous stake in maintaining the status quo, which has been enormously profitable for them, and so this will be a big

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Welcome back to This Week in Apps, the TechCrunch series that recaps the latest OS news, the applications they support and the money that flows through it all.

The app industry is as hot as ever, with a record 204 billion downloads and $120 billion in consumer spending in 2019. People are now spending three hours and 40 minutes per day using apps, rivaling TV. Apps aren’t just a way to pass idle hours — they’re a big business. In 2019, mobile-first companies had a combined $544 billion valuation, 6.5x higher than those without a mobile focus.

In this series, we help you keep up with the latest news from the world of apps, delivered on a weekly basis.

Google changes its app store rules, too

Google Play Store screen
Google Play Store screen

Google Play Store screen

Just a couple of weeks ago, Apple revised its App Store rules to permit game streaming

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