Sunday, 21 July 2019

US Internet giants called to Congress

By Nick Wood, for Total Telecom
Thursday 11 July 19

House committee investigating the huge market power wielded by likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple

Executives from US Web giants will appear at the US Capitol next week, as the government tries to ascertain just how powerful the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have become. Reuters reports that the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony next Tuesday from Adam Cohen…

Executives from US Web giants will appear at the US Capitol next week, as the government tries to ascertain just how powerful the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have become.

Reuters reports that the antitrust subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee will hear testimony next Tuesday from Adam Cohen, director of economic policy at Google; Nate Sutton, associate general counsel for regulation at Amazon; Matt Perault, head of global policy development at Facebook; and Kyle Andeer, vice president of corporate law at Apple.

The hearing forms part of a bipartisan investigation launched in June into competition in digital markets. The Committee noted at the time that "a small number of dominant, unregulated platforms have extraordinary power over commerce, communication, and information online."

The investigation aims to document any problems with competition in digital markets; establish whether the aforementioned Internet giants are engaging in anti-competitive behaviour; and assess whether existing legislation is sufficient to address any issues.

Given Google's record of infringing EU antitrust laws due certain practices relating to online search, its comparison shopping service, and its Android operating system, there could be at least one Internet player feeling slightly hot under the collar.

One prominent politician will certainly pay closer attention than most to the investigation.

Democratic presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren has repeatedly called for Amazon, Google and Facebook to be broken in order to address antitrust concerns.

"Today's big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation," the Senator from Massachusetts wrote earlier this year.

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