The Justice Department is working with more than a dozen states, and perhaps as many as two dozen, also interested in looking at Edge providers and antitrust law, according to various reports on the remarks of Antitrust Division chief Makan Delrahim at a tech conference in Aspen this week.
DOJ confirmed last month it is investigating business practices of Big Tech, which it signaled may be harming consumers.
The Antitrust Division is reviewing "whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers."
The wide-ranging investigation will include search, social media and some online retail, which means Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon are almost certainly in that conversation, though Delrahim has not named names.
Delrahim has said that big is not necessarily bad, but Justice will look into whether or not that is the case with Big Tech. One argument has been that Big Tech bought its way to dominance with hosts of small deals that individually did not raise antitrust red flags.
“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” said Delrahim last month. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”
A number of Democrats have also argued that Big Tech needs breaking up, or at least shaking up. Those include presidential candidates Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.
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