ANTITRUST

Big Tech Firms To Appear Before House Antitrust Subcommittee

Representatives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are scheduled to appear before the House Antitrust Subcommittee.

The July 16 hearing, which will focus on “dominant platforms and innovation,” will involve policy executives, including Amazon’s Associate General Counsel Nate Sutton; Apple’s Chief Compliance Officer Kyle Andeer; Facebook’s Head of Global Policy Development Matt Perault; and Google’s Director of Economic Policy Adam Cohen, according to CNBC.

The subcommittee revealed that it would “examine the impact of market power of online platforms on innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The hearing comes as the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice are reportedly investigating large tech companies for a potential antitrust case. Earlier this month, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), whose members include Walmart, Target and Best Buy, among others, said it is ready and willing to voice its concerns with both agencies.

“It’s pretty clear to us that the FTC and different relevant regulators should be taking a much closer look at these platform companies,” said Nicholas Ahrens, vice president of innovation for RILA, in an interview. “We are here to help.”

RILA added that it agrees with comments made by Makan Delrahim, the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, and more than 40 attorneys general, who have said that prices shouldn’t be the only measure of harm.

It’s “the combination of information control and market power that should worry antitrust regulators the most,” the letter said. “That unhealthy combination exists at the level of the internet’s pipelines, at the level of product search, in webhosting, on social media platforms and elsewhere.”

In addition, stricter regulation and even the potential breakup of the largest tech companies has become a hot issue during the 2020 presidential election, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren calling for Apple, Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook to all be broken up.

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote in a blog post. Warren continued, “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”

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