International

Big Tech has a monopoly on power, says US House report

Elena Pavlovska – New Europe

Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook have abused their dominance in the marketplace, according to a US Democratic-led House panel, which said Congress should consider forcing the tech giants to separate their dominant online platforms from other business lines.

Tuesday’s report is based on a 16-month investigation by the Democratic staff of the House Antitrust Subcommittee. It said that there is “significant evidence” to show that the companies’ anticompetitive conduct has hindered innovation, reduced consumer choice and weakened democracy.

“These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement. Our economy and democracy are at stake”, the report said, adding that tech companies have used the data they accumulate in one area of business to gain tremendous advantages when they expand into related businesses.

Google rejected the report: “We disagree with today’s reports, which feature outdated and inaccurate allegations from commercial rivals about Search and other services”, it said in a statement.

Facebook responded that it competes vigorously with “a wide variety of services” with many users.

Apple also said it disagreed “vehemently” with the report, and that it does not hold a dominant marketshare with any of its business segments.

“Large companies are not dominant by definition, and the presumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behavior is simply wrong. And yet, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, those fallacies are at the core of regulatory spit-balling on antitrust”, Amazon said.

The report now heads to a subcommittee markup, where a vote to adopt the final report is expected to take place before any legislative proposals are introduced.

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