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US report urges slapdown action on tech giants
Donald Harrison, president of global partnerships and corporate development at Google, speaks virtually to the US Senate’s Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on 15 September Pic: Reuters/Al Drago for Alamy

07 Oct 2020 / technology Print

US report urges crackdown on tech giants

A report by a US committee of the US House of Representatives has called for tougher US competition laws after finding that tech giants Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook each possess “significant market power” over large areas of the US economy.

The report, by the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee, said the four have “expanded and exploited their power of the marketplace in anti-competitive ways”.

The report follows a 16-month long investigation into the state of competition in the digital economy.

'Structural separations'

A statement from the committee’s co-chairs, Jerrold Nadler and David Cicilline, said there was now a “clear and compelling need” for Congress and US competition agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation, and safeguards democracy.

The report recommends “structural separations” to stop platforms from operating in lines of business that depend on or inter-operate with the platform. It also calls for platforms to make their services compatible with competing networks.

The report also calls for measures to stop “strategic acquisitions” that reduce competition and for changes in various US competition laws to bring them into line with developments in the digital economy.

Republican opposition

One member of the committee, Val Demings, said its investigation had revealed “an alarming pattern of business practices that degrade competition and stifle innovation”.

The report, however, was backed mainly by Democrats, and its proposals have already been opposed by some Republicans.

Amazon also responded, criticising what it described as "fringe notions of anti-trust" law.

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