Regulators from both the U.S. and the European Union have their sights set on major tech players Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook as potentially being in violation of monopoly-based antitrust laws, The Washington Post reported earlier today. The scrutiny over these four key players in the technology sector (now commonly clumped together with the term “Big Tech”) has been ramping up recently and, in a meeting with the Justice Department and attorneys general from 48 states, there’s been discussion about rewriting the anti-trust legislation rulebook entirely and potentially breaking up the tech firms. One U.K.-appointed panel reportedly suggests new legislation that would force tech giants to share user data with their smaller competitors.
While it’s not strictly illegal to have a monopoly in any particular sector, using the power that comes with it in order to restrict competition and versatility within the economy is against the law. And it’s nothing new for regulators to be hot on the heels of Big Tech. The European Union has fined Google on three separate occasions for a sum total of $9 billion for using its dominant market position to force a disadvantage on potential rivals in addition to its accusations of “unchecked power,” as recently reported by The Inquisitr. Naturally, there are extensive concerns over the behemoth business acting, for all intents and purposes, as sole gatekeepers of information to the entire planet.
The various tech giants are in hot water for different potential violations. Amazon is being examined to see if it’s taking advantage of its massive user data to develop its own offerings. The total of Amazon-branded products currently stands at over 140, according to TJI Research, and investigations are being made as to whether Amazon favors its own products over those of other sellers and manufacturers.
The state attorneys general from 4 dozen states officially declared that they were beginning investigations into the market power and corporate behavior of big tech companies https://t.co/R9tUPBHKQX— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 10, 2019
Apple’s most obvious potentially monopoly-leveraging power comes in the form of the App Store, whereby the baby of the legendary Steve jobs is also being scrutinized for favoring its own products in examples such as Apple Music over Spotify. With Facebook having acquired some 70 companies in the past 15 years, the social media giant may stand accused of using its buying power to snap up companies that could pose a threat to its rule over the social media kingdom.
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. David Cicilline — a leader of the investigation — is one of many legislators and politicians outspoken in their approval of further investigations.
“The dominance of these giant technology companies warrants a closer look. I’m glad that members of both parties understand that,”Cicilline said.