House Judiciary Subcommittee: Apple, Other Tech Giants Wield "Monopoly Power"

Sunday, 11 Oct, 2020

In the months that the investigation has lasted, more than 1.3 million documents have been investigated and more than 300 interviews have been conducted through the committee led by Democratic Congressman David Cicilline, which has concluded that these same companies they also competed in the market, thus creating "a position that allowed them to dictate a series of rules for some companies while they adjusted to others".

In response to the report, the workers discovered that every of the 4 companies at present has "monopoly energy" that must be introduced beneath management by Congress and different authorities businesses. Apple and Google, on the other hand, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

And this is not the last of problems for big tech firms. It also criticizes Amazon for its online store operations, Facebook for controlling online advertisements, and Google for dominating online search results.

The House Judiciary Committee later on Tuesday released a report calling for Big Tech to be held accountable for a "consistent level of bias" and suggested modifying Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which gives companies like Facebook and Twitter protections against civil liability for third-party content.

In its defence, Facebook said its acquisition of rival platforms Instagram and WhatsApp improved the apps for consumers.

And it asks Congress to boost the enforcement powers of antitrust regulators, such as the Federal Trade Commission, and to increase the budgets of the FTC and the Justice Department's antitrust division.

"Big Tech is out to get conservatives", Representative Jim Jordan said as the report was issued. As the report found, the companies appear to operate believing they are "beyond the reach of democratic oversight". But just how likely they are to face new regulation may depend on the outcome of the USA election. "The goal of antitrust law is to protect consumers, not help commercial rivals". The antitrust report says Amazon's US online retail market share is often understated as 40%, Instead, it says, "estimates of about 50% or higher are more credible".

"If the goal is simply to knock down successful U.S. businesses, then perhaps this plan would score a hit", he said.

The Committee's proposed changes would effectively break up Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google - worth a collective $US5 trillion - and hand new oversight and powers to United States agencies policing market competition.

The effort aimed to answer a key question: whether existing competition policies and century-old antitrust laws are adequate for overseeing the tech giants, or if new legislation and enforcement powers for regulators are needed.

The old dream of politicians like Democrat Elizabeth Warren to "chop up" big tech has not been possible.

The sanctions for "restoring competition in the digital economy" are just as severe, including "structural separations and prohibitions of certain dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business" and "presumptive prohibition against future mergers and acquisitions by the dominant platforms". A bipartisan coalition of 50 US states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, also has been investigating Google's business practices.