Tag: Lawmakers

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

House lawmakers say Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple abused monopoly power

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The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee released its report after investigating Big Tech.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Lawmakers from the US House of Representatives accused Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple of “abuses of monopoly power” in a 449-page report released Tuesday. The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee drew its conclusions after a 16-month investigation that culminated in an hours-long hearing with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai in July.

The report calls for restructuring and several other changes to rein in the companies. One recommendation tries to make it tougher for tech giants to buy up smaller companies that consolidates the industry. A “nondiscrimination requirements” suggestion aims to stop platforms from prioritizing their own products over those of rivals. The subcommittee also calls for the strengthening of antitrust laws and enforcement. 

The subcommittee likens the tech companies to monopolies from “the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.” For the investigation, led by Rhode Island Democrat David Cicilline, the subcommittee gathered more than 1.3 million documents from the tech giants, competitors and antitrust enforcement agencies.

“Although these firms have delivered clear benefits to society, the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google has come at a price,” the report says. “These firms typically run the marketplace while also competing in it — a position that enables them to write one set of rules for others, while they play by another.”

The amount of power these tech companies hold have resulted in “less innovation, fewer choices for consumers, and a weakened democracy,” the report says.

The four companies are some of the most powerful in the world. Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with a user base roughly equal

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

US Lawmakers Call For Shake-up Of Big Tech ‘Monopolies’

A House of Representatives panel in a report Tuesday accused four Big Tech firms of acting as “monopolies,” calling for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement that could potentially lead to breakups of the giant firms.

But the report by the House Judiciary Committee failed to win the endorsement of Republican members, highlighting a partisan divide despite widespread criticism of the tech giants.

The 449-page document concluded that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google “engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves.”

“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 report said.

The report follows an investigation of more than 15 months and hearings this year with the top executives of the four firms, in parallel to antitrust probes being led by federal and state enforcers.

Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline said in a joint statement that the tech firms “each possess significant market power over large swaths of our economy” and have “exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive ways.”

The report suggests moves which could lead to breakups of the big firms, calling for “structural separations” to prohibit companies from competing on platforms they operate.

Also recommended was a requirement that platforms allow “interoperability” with competitors and regulations aimed at preventing acquisitions that hurt competition.

Amazon pushed back in a blog post, arguing that “the presumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behavior is simply wrong.”

“Amazon accounts for less than 1% of the $25 trillion global retail market and less than 4% of retail in the US. Unlike industries that are winner-take-all, retail has ample

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Lawmakers Slam Big Tech ‘Monopolies’ In New Report

A House of Representatives panel said in a report Tuesday that four Big Tech firms are “monopolies” which abuse their market dominance and called for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement, which could potentially lead to breakups of the giant firms.

But the report by the staff of the House Judiciary Committee failed to win the endorsement of Republican members, highlighting a partisan divide despite widespread criticism of the tech giants.

The 449-page document concluded that Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google “engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves.”

“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 report said.

The report comes after an investigation of more than 15 months and hearings this year with the top executives of the four firms, in parallel to antitrust probes being led by federal and state enforcers.

Judiciary chairman Jerrold Nadler and antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline said in a joint statement that the tech firms “each possess significant market power over large swaths of our economy” and that all have “exploited their power of the marketplace in anticompetitive ways.”

The report suggests moves which could lead to breakups without offering details on doing so.

It calls for “structural separations” to prohibit companies from competing on platforms they operate.

A congressional report called for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement in response to the growing power of Big Tech firms, but Republican lawmakers declined to endorse the findings A congressional report called for sweeping changes to antitrust laws and enforcement in response to the growing power of Big Tech firms, but Republican lawmakers declined to endorse the findings Photo: AFP / DENIS CHARLET

Also recommended was a requirement that platforms allow “interoperability” with competitors and the establishment of a standard to halt acquisitions that hurt

06
Oct
2020
Posted in technology

Uber And Lyft Want To Operate Above The Control Of California Lawmakers

The battle over labor standards in California has been fierce over the last year. The union-conceived AB5 legislation was a disaster, as it tried to treat many independent businesspeople as employees. But the main targets were always the rideshare companies Uber
UBER
and Lyft
LYFT
and other so-called gig-economy businesses, which have backed a major campaign to overturn the law as it pertains to them. But their tactics include some seriously non-democratic angles to effectively sell and then impose their desired view on the state in virtual perpetuity.

Many thousands of drivers provide transportation to consumers who flock to the phone apps for a ride. The companies call themselves “platforms,” a term widely taken up by the tech press and investors through effective PR, because it evokes a marketplace where buyers and sellers do business. No direct involvement—just a cut of the transaction.

Direct involvement would mean that an Uber or Lyft was providing the ride or DoorDash was arranging the delivery. Drivers would then be like