Following roughly a 16-month investigation, a US House of Representative antitrust committee has found that Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook have engaged in anti-competitive policies.
According to the committee’s report, the four giants have “captured control over key channels of distribution and have come to function as gatekeepers.”
“To put it simply, companies that once were 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,” the document reads.
Facebook has monopolized social networking, Google dominates online search and search advertising, not to mention its control over Android, while Amazon and Apple run their own marketplaces while also competing in them.
The report cites Google and Apple’s legal battle with Epic Games over Fortnite. The investigators claim that the platform holders user their “gatekeeper power” to secure their 30% cut while blocking alternative payment systems.
The report culminates in a series of legislative proposals to enhance antitrust laws, congressional oversight and fair practices. If enforced, these recommendations will affect the entire economy “essentially turning the House’s efforts into a broader assault against corporate consolidation,” The Washington Post writes. However, before the recommended measures can come into forece, they have to be approved by Congress.
Apple declined to comment. Facebook and Google defended their practices, and Amazon responded with a blog post criticizing the lawmaker’s “fringe notions on antitrust” and “misguided interventions.”