Washington is set to dramatically ramp up its scrutiny of big tech companies’ power as the Department of Justice (DOJ) launches a wide-reaching antitrust investigation.
Coming just a week after the European Commission announced an upcoming “full-blown” antitrust investigation into Amazon and its practices related to third-party sellers.
Although the DOJ did not specifically name the companies which would come under scrutiny it said that the investigation would focus on “search, social media and some retail services online”, effectively pointing the finger at Amazon, Facebook and Google.
It added that its investigation would seek to determine how these companies achieved such market power and whether they were using strategies that have “reduced competition, stifled innovation or otherwise harmed consumers.
“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands. The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”
Yesterday’s announcement sent shares in Amazon sliding 1.1 per cent, while Facebook endured a 1.8 per cent dip. Google recovered from an immediate drop of one per cent and is now trading flat.