U.S. House Antitrust Investigation Reportedly Calls For Splitting Big Tech Firms Like Amazon And Google
Companies like Apple and Google have been accused of anti-competitive practices for many years. A United States House of Representatives antitrust
subcommittee has been investigating these major tech companies for sixteen months. A memo from Representative Ken Buck (R-CO) provides some insight into the conclusions of this investigation. The House of Representatives subcommittee’s report will supposedly include suggestions on how to break-up major tech companies.
The antitrust subcommittee is expected to publish a report later this week, and the overarching goal has been to determine whether tech companies’ practices are truly anti-competitive and offer suggestions that would split-up monopolies. The investigation has particularly focused on companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. The investigation included a hearing this past summer
that featured the CEOs of these companies.
According to the memo written by Representative Buck, the report will contain “a menu of potential changes” to existing laws. Suggestions will include bans on various kinds of mergers. The purpose of these changes would be to prevent large tech companies from completely squeezing out their competitors and therefore harming consumers.
The subcommittee is headed by Representatives David N. Ciciline (D-RI) and Joe Neguse (D-CO). It also consists of six additional Democrat representatives and five Republican representatives. Overall, the subcommittee agrees that “antitrust enforcement agencies need additional resources and tools to provide proper oversight.”
However, it appears that the Republican representatives on the committee may not support the entirety of the upcoming report. The memo written by Representative Buck states that the Republican representatives believe that some of the report’s recommendations are far too drastic. They oppose parts of the plan that would get rid of arbitration clauses and expose companies to even more class action lawsuits. They also disagree with the suggestion that companies only follow a “single line of business.”
Members of the subcommittee are still discussing various aspects of the report. Someone familiar with the situation stated that Buck’s memo will likely be included alongside the subcommittee’s report. It is important to note that at this point in time the subcommittee’s recommendations are truly recommendations and not law. Nevertheless, the subcommittee’s suggestions could potentially have a major impact on future American legislation. The future of tech could feature a greater variety of smaller tech companies and more competition. Major tech companies could also continue to remain large and in charge through other means that circumvent any new laws. Only time will tell whether or not the subcommittee’s recommendations have any impact.