US government widens anti-trust investigations into Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook

World Saturday 14/September/2019 14:02 PM
By: Times News Service
US government widens anti-trust investigations into Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook
Seattle: The US government’s investigations into big tech widened on Friday as lawmakers announced they were seeking internal documents from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

Letters went out to the four companies on Friday from the leaders of the House judiciary committee and its subcommittee on antitrust, which has been conducting a sweeping antitrust investigation of the companies and their effect on competition and consumers.

Among the dozens of executives named in the requests are Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, and Google’s Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt.

Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, said: “The open internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, including a surge of economic opportunity, massive investment, and new pathways for education online.

“But there is growing evidence that a handful of corporations have come to capture an outsized share of online commerce and communications.”

The investigation represents a rare example of bipartisan cooperation.

Doug Collins, the senior Republican on the House committee, said: “This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behavior is occurring, whether our antitrust enforcement agencies should investigate specific issues and whether or not our antitrust laws need improvement to better promote competition in the digital markets.”

The investigation is likely to lead to the release of potentially embarrassing internal documents and high-profile public hearings involving some of the biggest names in tech.

The letters seek information about the ways in which the tech giants have built their businesses, how they shape the search results that consumers see and how other businesses interact with their services.

The companies have said they’ll cooperate fully with the congressional investigation.

The lawmakers set a 14 October deadline for the companies to provide the documents.

Nadler said the documents will help the committee understand “whether they are using their market power in ways that have harmed consumers and competition.”

The justice department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are also conducting investigations of the companies. The latest moves come after dozens of US states launched privacy and antitrust investigations into Facebook and Google.