US tech giants accused of 'monopoly power'


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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai defended their firms

A report backed by Democratic lawmakers has urged changes that could lead to the break-up of some of America’s biggest tech companies.

The recommendation follows a 16-month congressional investigation into Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

“These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in,” Democratic lawmakers working on the probe wrote.

But Republicans involved in the effort did not agree with the recommendations.

In a statement, one Republican congressman Jim Jordan dismissed the report as “partisan” and said it advanced “radical proposals that would refashion antitrust law in the vision of the far left.”

US tech companies have faced increased scrutiny in Washington over their size and power in recent years. The investigation by the House Judiciary Committee is just one of multiple probes firms such as Facebook and Apple are facing.

The report, penned by committee staff, accused the companies of charging high fees, forcing smaller customers into unfavourable contracts and of using “killer acquisitions” to hobble rivals.

“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,” it said.

But divisions in Washington between Republicans and Democrats make the prospects of significant action against the firms unlikely, tech analyst Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said.

“The lack of consensus and divergence among both sides of the aisle on the antitrust issues remains a major issue to move things forward,” he said.

While that could change if Democrats gain more power in the upcoming US election, he said, “Despite the report/content and framework for recommendations around Big Tech players (e.g. M&A, business practices) without core law changes we believe this antitrust momentum hits a brick wall.”



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