DOJ to Investigate Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google

Posted on July 24, 2019 by Paul Thurrott in Amazon, Apple, Google, Social with 7 Comments

The U.S Department of Justice said Tuesday that it was opening an antitrust review of some of the biggest tech companies.

“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim said in a statement. “The department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”

The DOJ is belatedly joining a growing list of the concerned, which includes both the U.S. Congress and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) here in the United States, plus the European Commission (EC) in Europe, which has thus far been the most aggressive and effective.

And so far, its aims are, if anything, vague.

It is “reviewing whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers,” which of course they have, and egregiously so in many cases.

The DOJ also doesn’t name its targets explicitly, but it doesn’t have to: By noting a focus on “search, social media, and some retail services online,” it is clearly examining Google, Facebook, and Amazon. And the following line clearly indicates that Apple is in the firing line as well.

“The goal of the Department’s review is to assess the competitive conditions in the online marketplace in an objective and fair-minded manner and to ensure Americans have access to free markets in which companies compete on the merits to provide services that users want.” Apple has been accurately and effectively accused of maintaining an unfair app store that favors Apple’s services while being detrimental to competitors and raising prices for consumers.

If violations of law are identified, the DOJ says, it will proceed appropriately to seek redress.

Violations of law will absolutely be identified. The only question is how quickly the DOJ can move to publish its findings, alert the companies of their violations, and then achieve this redress. The Department’s investigation of Microsoft in the late 1990s came on the heels of several years of FTC investigations and the resulting trial took years. Meanwhile, in Europe, the EC has been an effective block on the bad behavior of U.S. Big Tech. But everything happens so slowly there.

Whatever. It’s about time.

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Comments (7)

7 responses to “DOJ to Investigate Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google”

  1. Greg Green

    belatedly is the key word. The US congress has been complaining under both parties and still done nothing. Maybe the DOJ will finally do what congress could’ve done in a few weeks.

  2. red.radar

    I think we have the EU to thank. If they didn’t start their investigation it wouldn’t have spurred conversation in the US. I suppose the DOJ and congress are acting so they can control or have a say in the narrative and not be indirectly ruled by EU legal precedent.

    Probably explains the unorganized announcement and lack of direction. They are reacting to the realities in front of them

  3. Thom77

    Google will create a dossier on every single member of the DOJ consisting of every search they have done, site they have gone to, and emails they have sent and recieved, every file attachment, every message, every location ping.

    And that will be the end of that.

  4. eric_rasmussen

    These companies have actually been good for some businesses. If you create something and people start to use it, you don't even need to define how you're planning to make a profit like you would with capital investors. You just position yourself to get acquired and then reap the rewards.

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