The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust ruled that big tech companies Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple are way too powerful. The report recommends that the tech giants (Big Four) should not be allowed to continue their activities as they have been doing for the last couple of years. Is this the beginning of a new digital world?
All feelings aside, this was research
It took about 16 months to write the report. In this process the committee spoke with experts, studied documents and interviewed the respective CEOs. Based on the research they concluded that the Big Four dominate several internet markets such as social media, app stores and online shopping. Additionally, the committee concluded that the Big Four are so big that they can easily buy competitors, falsely copy them or just price them out of the market.
The Big Four run the marketplace. While competing it.
The report contains 449 pages and has a clear message: ‘To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons. Although these firms have delivered clear benefits to society, the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google has come at a price. These firms typically run the marketplace while also competing in it — a position that enables them to write one set of rules for others, while they play by another, or to engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves.’
The comparison with the big oil- and railroad tycoons actually isn’t that strange. The Big Four are worth about 5 trillion dollars, which is more than a third of the total value of the 100 most important American companies. But the report says that this monopoly can also affect our democracy. Something we’ve all seen with Facebook. Due to a lack of competition the company initially didn’t feel the necessity to take action on fake news and the spread of misinformation.
The beginning of a digital revolution?
This report could be the biggest one since Microsoft was sued over its anticompetitive behavior back in the 1990s. So, the crucial question is; could this be the tipping point for big tech? For now, of course, The Big Four don’t agree on the report. Amazon already released a statement in which it said that being a big company doesn’t necessarily make it an anticompetitive one.
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