United States: House of Representatives Lawmakers Condemn “Monopoly Power” of Big Tech Companies

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After a 15-month investigation, they produced a 450-page report in which they noted that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power and called for changes to the laws that regulate them.

House lawmakers, who have spent the past 15 months investigating the practices of the world’s largest tech companies, said Tuesday that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google had exercised and abused their monopoly power and they called for changes to antitrust laws, the largest in half a century.

In a 449-page report that was presented by Democratic leaders on the House Judiciary Committee, lawmakers said the four companies had gone from being “tough” startups to “the kind of monopolies we last saw. in the age of the oil and railroad tycoons. “

Lawmakers said that companies had abused their dominant positions, establishing and often dictating prices and rules for trade, search, advertising, social media, and publishing.

To redress inequities, lawmakers recommended restoring competition by restructuring many of the companies, requesting the agencies that control market concentration. They also proposed reforming the antitrust laws, in the biggest potential change since the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976, which created stronger reviews of large mergers.

“The totality of the evidence produced during this investigation demonstrates the urgent need for legislative action and reform ”says the report. “These companies have too much power, and that power needs to be controlled and properly monitored and enforced.”

The House report is the most important government effort to control the world’s largest tech companies ever since the government sued Microsoft for antitrust violations in the 1990s. It offers lawmakers a profoundly clear roadmap for turning criticism of Silicon Valley’s influence into action.

The report is also expected to initiate other actions against the tech giants. The Department of Justice has been working to introduce an antitrust complaint against Google, followed by separate lawsuits against the Internet search giant by state attorneys general. Antitrust investigations by Amazon, Apple and Facebook are also ongoing at the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and four dozen state attorneys general.

But the House antitrust subcommittee was split between Democrats and Republicans. on how to remedy and diminish the power of tech companies, pointing to an uphill battle for Congress to cut them down.

Democrats proposed legal changes that could substantially restructure Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. They said Congress you should consider banning tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products, as Google does in search results, or to compete directly with other companies that use its platforms, as Amazon does in its market.

Some Republicans agreed with proposals to bolster funding for antitrust enforcement agencies, but opposed calls that Congress intervene in the restructuring of companies and their business models. Others have refused to back any of the Democrats’ investigations.

“I agree with about 330 pages of the majority report,” said Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado. But he said he could not agree with the recommendations to embolden consumer demands and company dissolution, which he called “the nuclear option.”

Por Cecilia Kang y David McCabe. The New York Times


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