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All about U.S. tech antitrust investigations | TECH(feed)

Computerworld | Sep 17, 2019

Four large tech companies -- Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are under investigation in the U.S. for allegedly anticompetitive behavior. These antitrust investigations on both the federal and state levels are aimed at uncovering the practices these companies engage in to eliminate competition. In this episode of TECH(feed), Juliet discusses the House investigation into big tech and how Congress plans to investigate potential wrongdoing by these companies.

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THE WORLD’S LEADING TECH COMPANIES ARE UNDER A SLEW OF ANTITRUST INVESTIGATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES. BUT WILL THESE INVESTIGATIONS REALLY CHANGE THE WAY THEY DO BUSINESS?

SO FOUR MAIN TECH GIANTS ARE THE SUBJECT OF FEDERAL AND STATE INVESTIGATIONS: GOOGLE, APPLE, AMAZON AND FACEBOOK. SO THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES IS DOING ITS OWN INVESTIGATION, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IS INVESTIGATING, FEDERAL AGENCIES ARE INVESTIGATING AND SO ARE A WHOLE GROUP OF STATE ATTORNEYS GENERAL. NOT EVERY TECH COMPANY IS BEING INVESTIGATED BY EACH OF THOSE THOUGH--ONLY GOOGLE AND FACEBOOK ARE SUBJECTS OF STATE INVESTIGATIONS.

I’M GOING TO FOCUS MAINLY ON THE CONGRESSIONAL ANTITRUST INVESTIGATION BECAUSE THAT INCLUDES ALL FOUR OF THOSE COMPANIES AND GIVES US A PRETTY GOOD UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT THEY’RE FACING. SO THE HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE ALLEGES THAT THESE FOUR TECH COMPANIES ARE TOO BIG AND WITHOUT ANY MEANINGFUL COMPETITORS. AND THEY USE THEIR POWER TO SQUASH COMPETITION AND MAINTAIN THEIR POWER OVER THE MARKET. A FEW DAYS AGO, THE HOUSE COMMITTEE SENT REQUESTS FOR DOCUMENTS DIRECTLY TO THE HEADS OF EACH OF THOSE COMPANIES. THOSE REQUESTS INCLUDE PERSONAL EMAILS AND OTHER INTERNAL COMMUNICATION. WHAT THE HOUSE IS SEARCHING FOR IS EXAMPLES OF INTENTIONALLY ELIMINATING COMPETITION--AND IF THESE COMPANIES DON’T TURN OVER DOCUMENTS, THEY MAY FACE THREATS OF SUBPOENA.

HONESTLY, THIS INVESTIGATION IS A REALLY BIG DEAL. THERE’S A PRETTY LARGE BIPARTISAN PUSH IN THE U-S TO LOOK INTO BIG TECH AND INVITE MORE COMPETITION INTO THE INDUSTRY THAT IS INTEGRAL TO HOW WE ALL LIVE. OBVIOUSLY, DON’T EXPECT THIS INVESTIGATION TO GO OVER SMOOTHLY. THERE WILL VERY LIKELY BE PUSHBACK FROM THE TECH COMPANIES, WHICH PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO REVEAL INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AND SO-CALLED TRADE SECRETS. AND EXPECT THESE TYPES OF QUESTIONS TO BE ASKED OF EXECUTIVES--AMAZON WILL PROBABLY BE ASKED IF THEY PROMOTE THEIR OWN PRODUCTS OVER THOSE OF COMPETITORS. APPLE WILL BE ASKED HOW THEY RANK APPS IN THE APP STORE. GOOGLE WILL BE ASKED ABOUT ITS AD BUSINESS AND ANDROID. AND FACEBOOK WILL PROBABLY BE ASKED ABOUT ITS ACQUISITIONS OF INSTAGRAM OF WHATSAPP. THAT’S FAR FROM THE TOTAL SCOPE OF THE QUESTIONS THAT WILL BE ASKED IN THE HOUSE INVESTIGATION, BUT HOPEFULLY THAT GIVES YOU AN UNDERSTANDING OF JUST HOW MUCH IT WILL COVER. I DON’T EXPECT THIS PROCESS TO MOVE TOO QUICKLY--BUT IF AND WHEN EXECUTIVES ARE QUESTIONED BY CONGRESS, I WILL ABSOLUTELY KEEP YOU IN THE LOOP.

THANKS FOR WATCHING THIS EPISODE OF TECH FEED. IF YOU LIKED THIS VIDEO BE SURE TO GIVE IT A THUMBS UP AND SUBSCRIBE TO OUR CHANNEL. AND LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK OF THESE ONGOING INVESTIGATIONS--AND IF THEY’LL RESULT IN ANY MEANINGFUL CHANGE. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.
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