House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Eyes Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook Dominance
October 7, 2020
The House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee released the findings of its more than 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy, especially the challenges presented by the dominance of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook and their business practices.
The report, entitled Investigation of Competition in the Digital Marketplace: Majority Staff Report and Recommendations, totals more than 400 pages, marking the culmination of an investigation that included seven congressional hearings, the production of nearly 1.3 million internal documents and communications, submissions from 38 antitrust experts, and interviews with more than 240 market participants, former employees of the investigated platforms, and other individuals. It can be downloaded by clicking here.
"As they exist today, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook each
possess significant market power over large swaths of our
economy. In recent years, each company has expanded and
exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive
ways," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10)
and Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (RI-01)
in a joint statement. "Our investigation leaves no doubt that
there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the
antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores
competition, improves innovation, and safeguards our democracy.
This Report outlines a roadmap for achieving that goal."
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.
"After conducting this country’s first major congressional
antitrust investigation in decades in which we held hearings,
heard from experts and questioned the CEOs of dominant tech
platforms, I can say conclusively that self-regulation by Big
Tech comes at the expense of our communities, small businesses,
consumers, the free press and innovation,"said Congresswoman
Pramila Jayapal. "By reasserting the power of Congress, we now
have a thoroughly researched and meticulously reasoned roadmap
for the work ahead as we rein in anti-competitive behavior, help
prevent monopolistic practices and allow innovation to thrive.
I’m looking forward to continuing this urgent work."
"This investigation has revealed that Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google were committed to drowning out competition through unfair and anti-competitive practices – often doing so at the expense of user privacy and innovation,” said Rep. Scanlon. “We must do everything we can to protect consumers and this report is a roadmap to the work that lies ahead. I look forward to developing and introducing legislation to restore fairness to the digital marketplace.”