US antitrust committee says big tech companies are a monopoly

Sunday, 11 Oct, 2020

Now, after multiple rounds of summons issued by the US Congress through the Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Laws, Amazon has been found to have promoted significantly anticompetitive work practices, and in particular, stifled competition from small businesses that heavily depended on Amazon for regular operations.

The scrutiny surrounding big tech companies have been a growing issue in 2019.

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.

And this is not the last of problems for big tech firms. None of the above deals add any significant revenues to the companies' existing business lines, but the report still argued that such moves "strengthens their market power and can close off market entry". As per BBC tech reporter James Clayton on Twitter, the report recommends limiting companies' powers to enter adjacent businesses, i.e. Facebook buying up Instagram or Google purchasing YouTube.

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.

Elsewhere, it said that "over the past decade, once-competitive mobile operating systems like Nokia, BlackBerry, and Microsoft struggled to survive as Apple and Google grew more dominant, eventually exiting the marketplace altogether". The report's recommendations would be a massive regulatory shakeup for the industry.

OH representative Jim Jordan called the House Judiciary Committee report the "Democrats' partisan report" which "advances radical proposals that would refashion antitrust law in the vision of the far left".

Four of the biggest tech companies on the planet are facing increasing pressure to face regulation in the U.S. following the publication of the 'Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets' report. The report also suggests updating antitrust legislation to prevent companies becoming so large and powerful again.

Along with its market dominance, Amazon has continued extensive acquisitions to shore up customer data, and in turn, increased its influence on online shoppers through data analytics.

In a statement, Google said that it disagreed with the conclusions of the report.

Spokespeople for Apple didn't immediately return a request for comment.

Both Republicans and Democrats have accelerated their criticism of Big Tech in recent months, though sometimes for different reasons. It held a highly charged hearing in July to question the CEOs of the Silicon Valley behemoths. State attorney generals are also looking into competition concerns at Google. They have cited "potential monopolistic behavior". Most of its services are offered for free in exchange for personal information that helps Google sell ads.

Justice Department on Google: The U.S. Justice Department is expected to file a relatively narrow complaint within two weeks, which accuses Google of seeking to disadvantage rivals in search and in lucrative search advertising.