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American commission finds Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon too powerful

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The United States House of Representatives committee examining the power of major tech companies says Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon should not be operating in markets they control themselves. The committee advises this in a report published Tuesday evening.

Commission: Tech giants set the rules for other companies

The 449-page report provides dozens of examples of how the companies have abused their dominance.

“To put it simply, companies that were once belligerent start-ups challenging the status quo now have the type of monopoly we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad magnates,” the report said.

For example, the companies have bought up competitors, asked other companies for high commissions and forced small businesses to sign stranglehold contracts, the committee said.

The report emphasizes that the tech giants operate marketplaces that they also use themselves. This allows the groups to “draw up rules for other companies, but they do not have to adhere to them themselves”.

For example, Google offers an auction platform for online advertisements, on which the company itself is also active. The takeover of Instagram by Facebook is also an example. At the time, the photo app was still small, but Facebook director Mark Zuckerberg called the potential of the app a threat to his company.

Google and Apple have expressed disagreement with the report’s findings. Facebook states that acquisitions are good for innovation. Amazon be for the publication of the report on alleged risks to small business owners.

The committee proposes to amend US legislation, but does not suggest that companies should be split up.

The report reflects the view of the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. It is unlikely that Congress will take immediate action because of the recommendations. However, the report may influence ongoing investigations into large tech companies, such as that of the market watchdog FTC.

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