The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, which has been investigating for the past 16 months, recommended changes to antitrust laws and enforcement, including potentially splitting up the companies in question or making it more difficult to acquire smaller companies.
The concerns come from all four companies’ reported influence over various sectors of the technological world that smaller companies claim stifles their own businesses.
In a 449-page report, Democratic lawmakers argue for a series of detailed changes, which CNBC summarized.
One point is that there should be limits put in place on companies entering other fields of business, which could mean, for example, Google being forced to separate from YouTube in some way, CNBC reported.
Another is to instruct antitrust agencies to presume mergers by dominant platforms are dangerous by default. The burden should be shifted onto the dominant company to prove that any potential merger isn’t, CNBC reported.
Under the Democrats’ proposed rules, dominant platforms wouldn’t be allowed to give preferential treatment for their own services, according to CNBC. And dominant platforms’ services would have to be compatible with others and data able to be transferred.
The rules also go on to say that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) would be required to regularly collect data on the concentration, and budgets would be increased for the FTC and the Department of Justice Antitrust Division, CNBC reported.
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado, who signed onto the report, said it shows that the big tech companies have an affinity for acquisitions that do away with competition while promoting the companies’ own products.
The way the internet is evolving has come through online platforms, including the aforementioned companies along with others like Uber, growing their businesses through creating ecosystems of connected ancillary services. PYMNTS reported that consumers are shifting their preferences to digital shopping and business because of convenience, ease and availability of products.