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A US Senate Subcommittee report concludes that Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon "abuse" their positions in their markets

The US Senate releases its report on digital markets. (Source: Flickr)
The US Senate releases its report on digital markets. (Source: Flickr)
The United States Senate had earlier commissioned an investigation into claims that the "Big Four" tech companies - Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google - exert monopolies on the main sectors in which they operate, and, furthermore, maintain them through systems that act in their favor. This process has resulted in findings that could be interpreted to uphold these complaints.
Deirdre O'Donnell,

The United States' Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commerical and Administrative Law has released its report into Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon relative to the services and products that they sell. It comes as a result of an assessment of the same, (known as the Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets) and is based on evidence that includes testimony from the CEOs of these Big Four companies that it has gathered since June 2019.

The 450-page document concludes that not only have all of these giants established either "monopolies" (or "significant and durable power", a term applied to Apple and Amazon in terms of mobile operating systems and online sales respectively) in their applicable markets, they employ business and trade practices that result in disproportionate levels of advantage for themselves and their subsidiaries.

They include acting as "gatekeepers" for services that have become nearly vital in the modern world (for example, Google acts in this capacity for search whereas Amazon does so for online retail).

Furthermore, they "abuse" these roles so as to perpetuate these states of affairs, which, according to the Subcommittee, involves surveilling, curtailing or strategically absorbing rivals or possible alternatives (Facebook's acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp being candidate prime examples).

Representatives from the 4 conglomerates in question have responded with a combination of dissidence, disagreement or flat-out denial of the Subcommittee's findings. However, this report is not in any way legally binding. Then again, its authors have also included a raft of recommendations as to how its nation's judicial bodies could proceed in addressing the situation as set out in the report.

They include an updated definition of anti-trust as it relates to the digital marketplace; preliminary restrictions on any further mergers or acquisitions on the part of any Big Four company; legislation that prevents the same skewing conditions in their favor (the manner in which Google now, according to the report at least, largely determines access to search data, for example); and structural regulations that prevent monopolization in the future.

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Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-10- 7 (Update: 2020-10- 8)
Deirdre O'Donnell
Deirdre O'Donnell - Editor - 3580 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
I became a professional writer and editor shortly after graduation. My degrees are in biomedical sciences; however, they led to some experience in the biotech area, which convinced me of its potential to revolutionize our health, environment and lives in general. This developed into an all-consuming interest in more aspects of tech over time: I can never write enough on the latest electronics, gadgets and innovations. My other interests include imaging, astronomy, and streaming all the things. Oh, and coffee.