The central theses
- A subcommittee of the US House of Representatives publishes a 450-page report listing anti-competitive practices by large technology companies
- Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Alphabet are all targeted
- The subcommittee recommends ways of creating “a level playing field”.
After a 16-month investigation into the business practices of technology giants Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, the House Justice Subcommittee on Antitrust law published its recommendations on Tuesday to reform the law to avoid the further emergence of the digital Monopolies.
Democratic majority workers published a nearly 450-page report.Documentation of their results and recommendations after considering evidence from hearings, interviews and 1.3 million documents. The subcommittee concluded that the four big tech companies are dominating the industry in ways that affect the US economy and democracy, and suggested that Congress make changes to antitrust laws that could result in that Parts of the company are separated.
The subcommittee argued that each platform acts as a “gatekeeper to an important sales channel,” enabling companies to select “winners and losers” across the economy by “collecting exorbitant fees, imposing oppressive contract terms and extracting valuable data from people and companies that rely on them. “The subcommittee also argued that these companies identified potential competitors and bought, copied, or cut off those competitors.
“To put it simply, companies that were once seedy, inferior startups that challenged the status quo have become monopolies that we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report said.
Recommendations to Congress include:
- Reduce conflicts of interest by banning technology giants from operating in markets that put them in competition with companies that depend on their infrastructure.
- Implementing rules to prevent discrimination, favoritism and self-preference to ensure fair competition and promote innovation online. This would imply that dominant platforms have to offer “equal conditions for the same service”.
- To serve the public interest, tech giants need to demonstrate that future transactions will be conducted, and similar benefits may not be obtained from internal growth. Otherwise, Congress should consider the mergers to be anti-competitive.
- The creation of a level playing field for the free and diverse press, which, according to the subcommittee, is currently due to Facebook and Google, as both companies dominate digital advertising and the most important communication platforms.
- Prohibition of the abuse of superior bargaining power, including through the potential to target anti-competitive contracts and the introduction of adequate process protection for individuals and companies that are dependent on the technology giants.
- Restoring the antimonopoly objectives of antitrust laws by clarifying that they “should protect not only consumers, but also workers, entrepreneurs, independent businesses, open markets, a fair economy and democratic ideals”
- Strengthening the enforcement of mergers to prohibit deals that can “significantly” reduce competition or create a monopoly.
- Protect potential competitors, emerging competitors and startups by empowering Clayton Act forbid the acquisition of potential competitors and young competitors.
Republicans have objected to some of the subcommittee’s proposals, including the imposition of structural divisions. Rep. Ken Buck (R-COLO.), A member of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, wrote in a draft memo that some of the recommendations “are not beginners to conservatives,” Politico reported.. Even so, Buck agreed that “antitrust authorities need additional resources and tools to ensure proper oversight”.
Justice committee ranking member Jim Jordan, R-Ohio plans to release a response to allegations of the platforms’ bias against conservatives that the tech giants have denied, according to Axios..