The Ministry of Justice's announcement that it is investigating the market power of online platforms is the latest sign of growing problems in Washington for large technology companies.
Why it matters: Antitrust measures are one of the most important steps a government can take to curb a business – and the announcement of Justice is the kind that can trigger years of investigation "practices that compete hamper innovation or harm consumers in any other way. "
Review: The first sign that the DOJ was taking Attorney General Bill Barr to launch antitrust investigations against major Silicon Valley companies came this year as the Authority related to the Federal Trade Commission's jurisdiction over competition concerns on technology companies, the FTC took over Facebook and Amazon. DOJ spokesman Alexei Woltornist declined to comment on how the announcement from Tuesday fit into this agreement.
The Big Picture: Support for more aggressive enforcement of antitrust law has grown on the left in recent years, culminating in the proposal by presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren to break Big Tech.
- The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. David Cicilline (DR.I.), conducts its own investigation into major technology companies on Tuesday, with Facebook, Amazon, and Google failing to adequately answer panel questions at a recent hearing, o Regulation of important platforms for concerns about privacy, disinformation and criminal activity on the Internet.
Antitrust prosecution would be a first for this generation of technology companies who have benefited from the practice of assertive power to identify market dominance by looking for places where this will lead to higher consumer prices. Google and Facebook give away most of their services for free.
Conclusion: These are the types of investigations that, if gaining momentum, can humiliate corporate giants and have a significant impact on the economy.
- The last major cartel case In this sector, Justice pursued Microsoft since the late 1990s.
- Some say the case left Microsoft, giving Google the space to succeed and ultimately become its own giant.
: For tech, antitrust law is a fatal distraction