Why are Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple facing antitrust issues?

The story so far: After years of rampant growth caused by an ever-growing share of the online advertising market and big data, Silicon Valley giants, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, are facing an unprecedented challenge – calls from lawmakers. to curb their market monopoly power. There are two sources of tension regarding these four technology firms that have triggered alarm across the United States, Europe and elsewhere: first, that they may have engaged in anti-competitive behavior for many years, thus underestimating small potential rivals and maintaining size. market share; and second, that as a result of this metastatic growth, they now have a far-reaching influence on politics, politics, and personal reputations across the spectrum, causing catastrophic damage to the cost of data privacy. Thus, in July 2019 the US Department of Justice and the Judiciary Committee in particular announced major anti-fraud investigations on Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple promising “a top-down review of the market power held by giant tech platforms.”

What are the main concerns with each platform?

Amazon: Given the disruptive impact of its online sales platform on traditional retail markets and smaller retailers, lawmakers for years and in multiple countries have been contemplating regulations to disclose Amazon’s alleged anti-competitive practices. For example, questions have often arisen about whether Amazon favors its self-made products over those of third-party sellers, requiring other sellers to use its advertising services or executive network, ranking product search screens, or using data from other sellers to set up their own offers. Regulators are also reportedly looking at the acquisition of a conglomerate of Whole Foods, an upscale grocery chain.

Apple: In September 2019, U.S. congressional investigators required Apple documents to explain the company’s App Store policies, specifically about how Apple ranks search results on that platform, questions about how Apple determines its revenue. charged for in-app purchases. , and the exclusion of any competing programs from the Store. For example, Spotify and those behind some parental control programs have made complaints to regulators in the United States, Europe and Russia about Apple’s alleged limitation of their programs, after the tech giant introduced self-made competitive services.

Facebook: Regulators have focused their attention on Facebook’s acceptable stretch in capital markets, such as the US Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) inquiry into whether Facebook has deftly bought some companies to maintain its leading market position in the social network ecosystem. Specifically, questions focused on Facebook’s relationship with Onavo, a data analytics company that Facebook bought in 2013, which then reportedly helped the social media giant see potential competitors. Investigators also began investigating allegations that Facebook may have cut some third-party software from its data.

Google: This company handles more than 90% of Internet searches worldwide, so regulators have observed its delivery of search results under a microscope. In recent years, concern has grown as Google has increasingly sent users to their own websites to answer their questions, including products such as Google Flights and Google Maps. Thus, Google may find itself dominated by regulators over whether it is abusing its search dominance, to the detriment of rival content producers. The European Union has already fined Google $ 5.1 billion in 2018.

Who is leading the charge against the tech firms?

In March 2019 U.S. Senator and Democrat Elizabeth Warren announced as part of her 2020 presidential campaign, a plan to break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google. Shortly thereafter, on June 3, the House of Representatives’ Antitrust Subcommittee announced a bipartisan investigation into competition and “abusive conduct” in the tech sector. In mid-July, the U.S. Department of Justice publicly announced that it had started an antitrust probe into “market-leading online platforms”, following which Facebook confirmed that it was being investigated by the FTC, and Google that it was facing a Department of Justice antitrust probe. Over the next few months Attorneys-General across 50 U.S. states and territories announced a joint antitrust probe into Google and Facebook, and the House Antitrust Subcommittee made an enormous information demand to all four tech giants, requesting 10 years’ worth of detailed records relating to competition, acquisitions, and other matters relevant to the investigation. The case against these four Silicon Valley firms is also bolstered by the fact that U.S. President Donald Trump could hardly be considered an ally. In August 2018, he warned that tech companies could be in a “very antitrust situation.”

What is the forecast for the anti-fraud case?

In the United States, the cases against the four technology firms are likely to focus on potential violations of the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Fraud Acts – two laws founded in the last century by federal antitrust lawsuits. While the companies, more or less, carried out the various investigations against them, they only temporarily provided limited information.

News Reporter

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