Tech giants abuse their power

Sunday, 11 Oct, 2020

Tuesday's report is based on a 16-month investigation by the Democratic staff of the House Antitrust Subcommittee.

The existing infrastructures are awful, and the scathing case against Big Tech will only crystallize these issues for a global audience of tens of millions.

The report [pdf], which totals 449 pages, concludes that big tech firms like Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are effectively monopolies that need to be broken up to restore competition and improve innovation in the industry. If such steps were mandated, they could bring the biggest changes to the tech industry since the federal government's landmark case against Microsoft nearly 20 years ago.

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.

The release of the Democrats' report followed media reports earlier on Tuesday that the Democrats and Republicans were in disagreement over what to include in the final report. It will be up to the new Congress elected in November to decide whether to take action on the report.

The probe came as part of the process in which the CEOs of four of the largest tech companies - Apple's Tim Cook, Alphabet's Sundar Pichai, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg- testified before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust Issues.

The politicians also want to ban the tech giants from going into what are described as "adjacent businesses": "So Amazon could not sell products on its own platform, it could only sell products from other companies". "A strongly competitive landscape existed at the time of both acquisitions and exists today". But Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin Republican, said that while he disapproves of sweeping changes to the antitrust laws, "There actually is a lot that we agree on, including the lack of sufficient scrutiny on past activity by these companies". In the report, the Committee says Apple enjoys "monopoly power" over software and app distribution on iOS devices.

Amazon says "misguided" free market interventions will hurt small retailers and their customers.

In a statement, Google said it competes "fairly in a fast-moving and highly competitive industry" and disagrees with the subcommittee's findings, "which feature outdated and inaccurate allegations from commercial rivals about Search and other services".

Apple declined to comment.

Washington is finally ready to turn up the heat on Silicon Valley. In addition to the House investigation, antitrust investigations are also underway for Amazon, Apple, and Facebook at the Justice Department, the Federal Trade Commission, and with four dozen state attorneys general.

"But if the goal is to benefit consumers, which has until now been the standard for antitrust policy, it is hard to see how this would do anything but invite regulators to micromanage business models". It also revealed how companies did everything they could to dominate over competitors in order to control large portions of the internet. A bipartisan coalition of 50 US states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, also has been investigating Google's business practices.