Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The sweeping antitrust bills House lawmakers introduced Friday don't just propose broad new principles of digital-age competition — they put giant bullseyes on the backs of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Why it matters: Laws crafted now to tie the hands of today's dominant companies will still be on the books for years and decades to come, and critics are already flagging possible unintended consequences.

The big picture: The foundational U.S. antitrust laws were shaped over 100 years ago to bust monopolies like Standard Oil that dominated the economy.

  • Lawmakers and critics fear their bundle of rules and precedents no longer protects competition in the digital era.
  • The Microsoft antitrust battle 20 years ago showed how tough it was to apply these old laws to a world of software and platform competition.

Details: The new bills apply to companies that have a market capitalization of $600 billion or more and at least 50 million monthly active US users or 100,000 monthly active U.S. business users.

  • That's most clearly Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. Some aspects of the bills could also apply to Microsoft.
  • To be covered by these bills, companies also have to function as "critical trading partner for the sale or provision of any product or service offered on or directly related to the online platform." This would, for instance, include the roles Google and Apple play managing their app stores, or Amazon's relationship to its third-party sellers.

Yes, but: Today's definition of a "giant tech company" may become meaningless in short order.

  • The term "monthly active users," which is of recent vintage and has varying definitions, could easily lose its usefulness as a measure of a service's popularity.
  • Over time, the $600 billion market cap limit could also end up covering many more companies, thanks to inflation and the impact of future investment bubbles.
  • Today's online platform model dominates the industry, but it's only a couple of decades old, and tech could evolve in a wildly different direction over the next two decades.

What they're saying: "It's OK for people to think that a certain kind of business practice is unethical, unfair, not currently illegal but should be illegal," Alec Stapp, director of tech policy at the Progressive Policy Institute, told Axios. "And that's obviously a perfectly reasonable debate to have. But it doesn't make sense to say it should only be an illegal business practice when an extremely large tech company does it."

The other side: "We are at a time now where individual big tech companies are actively harming our economy, democracy, small business and consumers," said Jane Chung, who works on big tech accountability at consumer rights group Public Citizen. "It's a threat Congress can't afford to ignore any longer."

  • "There's plenty more we have to do to even the playing field, but I think it was really important to call out the most egregious behaviors, and egregious kind of impediments to a fair economy, right now," she said.

Our thought bubble: The House bills are backward-looking, aiming to solve problems created by the rise to dominance of today's industry's giants. By zeroing in narrowly on their specific targets, these proposals may lack the flexibility and breadth to handle new challenges to competition that the rapidly changing tech world will inevitably develop.

What's next: The introduction of these bills begins a long legislative process that could end in the enactment of some of their provisions in coming years. Given Congress' current deadlocks, they are just as likely to go nowhere.

Go deeper

"Fortnite" blacklisted from Apple store

Image courtesy of Epic Games

Epic Games CEO and founder Tim Sweeney said Wednesday that Apple has "blacklisted ['Fortnite'] from the Apple ecosystem until the exhaustion of all court appeals," a process that could take up to five years.

Why it matters: It appears "Fortnite" won't be returning to the Apple store any time soon.

Facebook fights for its image

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook is ditching apologies and taking a more combative stance against its critics as it faces a new barrage of negative coverage and leaked internal reports.

Driving the news: As part of the new posture, Facebook started testing placing positive messages about itself in users' News Feeds last month, according to a New York Times story Tuesday.

Updated 42 mins ago - World

Biden cleans up comments about Russia invading Ukraine

Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden sought to clarify his suggestion that a "minor incursion" by Russia into Ukraine may not draw the same response as a large invasion, telling reporters Thursday that "Russia will pay a heavy price" if any troops cross the border.

Why it matters: Some officials in Kyiv saw Biden's comments as inviting Russian aggression.