It’s open season on Big Tech as the US political machinery kicks into high gear weeks ahead of the country’s biggest elections yet. After nearly a year and a half of inquiries, the Democrat-led House Judiciary subcommittee released a 450-page conclusion on how four Big Tech companies indeed enjoy monopoly power and suggested sweeping changes that would change these companies forever. Unsurprisingly, these companies have denied any wrongdoing and both Apple and Google have already voiced their disapproval of the conclusions reached by Congress.
It’s really no surprise who these four Big Tech companies are and the monopolies they allegedly control. Facebook is pretty much the king of social networking and online advertising even as Google holds power over search advertising and online search in general. While Amazon lords it over third-party resellers and suppliers of physical goods, Apple, perhaps much to Epic Games’ joy, is accused of monopolizing the iOS app store.
Apple, who welcomes the scrutiny but vehemently disagreed with the conclusions reached, defends that it doesn’t have a dominant share in any of its business categories, something that could be difficult to prove considering the numbers stack favorably for App Store profits. It also says that its 30% commission rate is in line with those charged by other app stores which is exactly the practice that Epic Games and its Coalition for App Fairness are challenging.
Google, on the other hand, calls out the outdated and inaccurate allegations about its Search and services. In particular, it takes issue with the proposed actions that it says would harm consumers rather than help them. Antitrust laws, according to its response are supposed to protect consumers, not commercial rivals.
The actions recommended by the report include breaking up the companies to make it harder to buy and kill smaller rival companies. It also suggests preventing these companies from referencing their own services and instead offer equal terms for competing products and services. Republicans in the subcommittee generally agreed with the findings but objected to the restructuring proposals.