Small business holds key to tech's antitrust fate – Axios

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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
Big Tech giants and their adversaries are both trying to enlist a powerful constituency in their battle over looming antitrust legislation: small businesses.
Why it matters: Small businesses can have outsize sway with Washington lawmakers, and the fight for their support will shape the fate of Congress' crusade to limit tech power.
What's happening: The package of House bills under consideration, and companion legislation in the Senate, would prohibit the major tech platforms from unfairly favoring their own products and create barriers to new acquisitions.
Amazon has warned third-party sellers that the legislation could jeopardize its ability to host third-party sellers on its platform completely.
Meanwhile, Google has been notifying its small business customers that the legislation could make it harder for users to find business listings in Google Search or Maps results, and hurt the effectiveness of digital marketing.
Connected Commerce Council, a small business group that receives funding from Amazon and Google, coordinated virtual meetings last month between business owners and over a dozen lawmaker offices to discuss the legislation and their concerns, executive director Rob Retzlaff told Axios.
The other side: Rep. Ken Buck, (R-Colo.), ranking member of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee and the leading Republican on the bills, says Big Tech's outreach to small businesses shows "desperation." He was initially skeptical of the committee's Big Tech investigation until he heard first-hand from companies struggling with the platforms.
A tale of two Amazon sellers: Doug Mrdeza, who owned a Michigan college town barber shop, shifted to selling products on Amazon in 2014 when he realized he could sell more online in the summer months.
Alfred Mai launched his tabletop games company, ASM Games, four years ago, and uses Amazon's fulfillment services to handle shipping, now selling in seven countries.
General view of a burnt area of the Amazonia rainforest in the surroundings of the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on September 15, 2021. Photo: Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images
Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest reached a 15-year high after it soared 22% in one year, according to data published Thursday.
Why it matters: The Amazon is the world's largest tropical rainforest and stores vast quantities of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas.
China's Peng Shuai in a women's doubles semi-final match at the Kunming Open tennis tournament on April 27, 2019. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images
China's ambassador to the United States should assist in "bringing about a satisfactory result" in regards to the missing tennis player Peng Shuai, Women's Tennis Association CEO Steve Simon wrote in a letter dated Friday.
Why it matters: Peng has not been seen in public since she accused China's former vice premier of sexual assault earlier this month. Tennis authorities have called for a full investigation into the allegations by the two-time Grand Slam doubles champion.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
Latinas are a growing segment in the beauty and self-care industries, outspending non-Hispanic buyers in the past few years.
Why it matters: Many companies have yet to market to them, while brands aimed at Latinas or have Latina founders struggle to attract investors.

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