Washington is finally ready to turn up the heat on Silicon Valley...
After a more than year-long probe, a House antitrust panel on Tuesday released a scathing report slamming Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Alphabet's Google for anti-competitive practices that unfairly hurt rivals.
The long-awaited findings detail what lawmakers believe are the lengths these big tech companies took to abuse their dominance, including the use of exorbitant fees and 'oppressive' contracts to squeeze out more profits. "To put it simply, companies that were once 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," said the report.
Subcommittee chairman David Cicilline gave a preview of what to expect at a tech hearing this summer.
"Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these corporations already stood out as titans in our economy in the wake of COVID-19, however, they're likely to emerge stronger and more powerful than ever before."
The House committee claims Amazon abuses its dominance by not only operating the marketplace but selling items, allowing it access to third-party data, which it uses to sell copy-cat items. Calling that an "inherent conflict of interest." It recommends Congress consider a law that prohibits companies from operating the markets in which they compete.
Lawmakers didn't mince words when it came to Facebook either. The House panel accused Facebook of maintaining its social media dominance by identifying rivals and then either copying from them, buying them, or just outright killing them.
But the news wasn’t all bad. The report lacked any calls for company breakups or Congressional attempts to block future mergers.
There was no immediate response from any of the companies.
Shares of Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google all added to loses in after-hours trading.