House Antitrust Subcommittee Sees Need to Restore Competition in the Digital Economy

Yesterday, the U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee released a report entitled “Investigation of Competition in the Digital Marketplace,” which sets forth their view that Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google have been exercising monopolistic control over the digital economy.

The result of a more than 16 month investigation which gathered information from anti-trust experts, market participants and former employees of the four companies, findings of anti-competitive behavior include that:

  • Apple exercises excessive control over its App Store platform
  • Having almost 40% of e-commerce sales in the U.S. Amazon charges sellers on its platform increasingly large fees
  • Google has a monopoly in online search and marketing
  • Facebook uses a “copy, acquire, kill” strategy to hurt its rivals

While Republican members of the committee are choosing to issue their own report which may focus more on strengthening the power of regulatory agencies, according to the Subcommittee press release its’ recommendations include:

  • Structural separations to prohibit platforms from operating in lines of business that depend on or interoperate with the platform;
  • Prohibiting platforms from engaging in self-preferencing;
  • Requiring platforms to make its services compatible with competing networks to allow for interoperability and data portability;
  • Mandating that platforms provide due process before taking action against market participants;
  • Establishing a standard to proscribe strategic acquisitions that reduce competition;
  • Improvements to the Clayton Act, the Sherman Act, and the Federal Trade Commission Act, to bring these laws into line with the challenges of the digital economy;
  • Eliminating anticompetitive forced arbitration clauses;
  • Strengthening the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice;
  • And promoting greater transparency and democratization of the antitrust agencies

Categories: Big Tech in NYC, Digital Economy, Digital Platforms, Government v Tech, Regulation, Startup Ecosystem

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