Tech Titans Are at the Center of America’s Monopoly Problem
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee concluded its year-long investigation into the gatekeeping power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google today with the release of its final report documenting how these corporations built and abused their monopoly power. It includes a series of policy recommendations such as structural and line-of-business separations to restore competition.
“This historic investigation demonstrated that these dominant tech companies have become too big, too fast. They have abused their power as monopolies to harm consumers, workers, small businesses and innovation,” said Alex Harman, competition policy advocate for Public Citizen. “The committee’s report is an important step in reining in these unchecked platforms. We look forward to learning from the report’s findings and working with lawmakers on legislation that will help check Big Tech’s power, ensure a fair digital marketplace and create better outcomes for consumers, workers and entrepreneurs.”
The subcommittee’s investigation – the first significant congressional inquiry into monopoly power in 50 years – made plain the insidious power Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have over American society and business. Under the bold leadership of Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and with bipartisan support, the subcommittee exposed conflicts of interest, anti-competitive mergers and a rap sheet of other abusive actions – including preferencing their own content and denying entrepreneurs access to their systems for arbitrary reasons. These actions have created a climate of fear among small businesses that must rely on large technology platforms to get access to markets.
The subcommittee’s final report comes despite expensive efforts by Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google to avoid accountability. For years, these corporations have employed an army of lobbyists and an avalanche of flashy PR campaigns to shore up their economic and political power. In exposing these corporations’ power, the subcommittee secured a victory for American workers, businesses, consumers and democracy. This investigation should serve as a model for others in Congress to follow – one that pairs a serious bipartisan investigation with public accountability for America’s corporate leaders.
America has a monopoly problem. Recent research shows that monopoly power lowers wages, reduces innovation and entrepreneurship, elevates income and regional inequality, undermines the free press, and perpetuates toxic systems of racial and class dominance. Strong antitrust law, as well as other governance and regulatory tools, is a critical way that Americans can protect ourselves from concentrated corporate power.