USA lawmakers slam Big Tech 'monopolies'

Sunday, 11 Oct, 2020

"They not exclusively wield large energy, however in addition they abuse it by charging exorbitant charges, imposing oppressive contract phrases, and extracting invaluable information from the individuals and companies that depend on them".

"Together, the firms investigated by the Subcommittee have acquired hundreds of companies just in the last ten years", said the report.

The report's recommendations include breaking up or placing structural separations into the businesses of the four companies, as well as placing stricter oversight on any mergers involving them, preventing them from placing on any preference on their own products and services, and making their services compatible with competitors. "In other cases, a dominant firm acquired smaller companies to shut them down or discontinue underlying products entirely - transactions aptly described as 'killer acquisitions'". While Amazon called the proposals "fringe notions of antitrust" and said that it "vehemently disagrees" with them, Apple claimed that it doesn't even fall in the same category as the others because it does not have dominant market share in any of the sectors it does business in. One of the examples is Facebook's acquisitions of Instagram in 2012. The report stated that Amazon was found to have monopoly power over most of the millions of smaller sellers it hosts on its site. Republicans meanwhile supported more resources for antitrust enforcement but are unwilling to support forced breakups.

However the report did stop short of naming a specific company that should be broken up. If you'd like to read the report in full, you can do so right here. It called on Congress to boost the enforcement powers of antitrust regulators, including the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and increase the budget of the commission and and Justice Department's antitrust division. That conduct, the report alleges, is anti-competitive. "This Report outlines a roadmap for achieving that goal".

Responding to the report, NAB Pres./CEO GORDON SMITH said, "NAB thanks Chairman (DAVID) CICILLINE (D-RI) and the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee for its important investigation into the dominant competitive power of digital technology platforms".

To remedy the inequalities, lawmakers have proposed legal changes that could restructure Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple.

The report said the amount of power these tech companies hold have resulted in "less innovation, fewer choices for consumers, and weakened democracy". Believe it or not, monopolies are actually legal under current USA law.

"Our investigation revealed an alarming pattern of business practices that degrade competition and stifle innovation", added Rep. Val Demings. It's hard to see where this report will lead, given that elections are looming in the U.S., along with the concern that meddling with the country's most successful companies during a severe economic downturn would be foolhardy. Which means that the Democratic workers recommends options together with forcing tech firms to be damaged up or imposing enterprise buildings that make totally different strains of enterprise functionally separate from the mother or father firm.