US Congress unveils the Big Tech antitrust report

The US House Judiciary Committee of the House of Representatives has published a 450-page antitrust report. The report finds that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google each hold monopoly power and, in some cases, should have parts of their businesses effectively broken up. 

The report is a result of a 16 month long investigation into the business practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. The report states that while these companies differ in important ways, there are common problems:

  • Each platform now serves as a gatekeeper over a key channel of distribution and therefore controls access to markets. They abuse their power by charging exorbitant fees, imposing oppressive contract terms, and extracting valuable data from people and businesses that rely on them. 
  • Each platform uses its gatekeeper position to maintain its market power. By controlling the infrastructure of the digital age, they have surveilled other businesses to identify potential rivals, and have ultimately bought out, copied, or cut off their competitive threats. 
  • These companies have abused their role as intermediaries to further entrench and expand their dominance. Whether through self-preferencing, predatory pricing, or exclusionary conduct, the dominant platforms have exploited their power to become even more dominant. 

The report recommends structural separation and line of business restrictions for Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

The report lists specific policy recommendations including proposals to promote fair competition in digital markets; strengthen laws relating to mergers and monopolisation; and restore vigorous oversight and enforcement of antitrust laws. The new antitrust legislation is planned to be passed within three to six months, according to CNBC.