Bulletins

House Democrats' report attacks Big Tech 'monopolies'

"Underdog startups … have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons."

The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday released its highly anticipated final report, the 449-page culmination of its 15-month investigation into Big Tech. The report concludes that Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple have too much power and must be reined in.


The report's key findings:

"Facebook has monopoly power in the market for social networking. Internal communications among the company's chief executive officer, Mark Zuckerberg, and other senior executives indicate that Facebook acquired its competitive threats to maintain and expand its dominance. For example, a senior executive at the company described its acquisition strategy as a 'land grab' to 'shore up' Facebook's position, while Facebook's CEO said that Facebook 'can likely always just buy any competitive startups,' and agreed with one of the company's senior engineers that Instagram was a threat to Facebook."

"Google has a monopoly in the markets for general online search and search advertising. Google's dominance is protected by high entry barriers, including its click-and-query data and the extensive default positions that Google has obtained across most of the world's devices and browsers. A significant number of entities — spanning major public corporations, small businesses and entrepreneurs — depend on Google for traffic, and no alternate search engine serves as a substitute."

"Amazon has significant and durable market power in the U.S. online retail market. This conclusion is based on the significant record that subcommittee staff collected and reviewed, including testimonials from third-party sellers, brand manufacturers, publishers, former employees and other market participants, as well as Amazon's internal documents. Although Amazon is frequently described as controlling about 40% of U.S. online retail sales, this market share is likely understated, and estimates of about 50% or higher are more credible."

"Apple has significant and durable market power in the mobile operating system market. Apple's dominance in this market, where it controls the iOS mobile operating system that runs on Apple mobile devices, has enabled it to control all software distribution to iOS devices. As a result, Apple exerts monopoly power in the mobile app store market, controlling access to more than 100 million iPhones and iPads in the U.S."

The report includes a set of recommendations for curtailing the power of the tech industry, including breaking up the tech giants and reinvigorating antitrust enforcement by federal agencies.

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