The antitrust hearing that Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos participated in back in July confirmed that all of the companies are engaging in “behavior which is deeply disturbing and requires Congress to take action,” according to Representative David Cicilline, the chairman of the House antitrust panel leading the inquiry.
Cicilline made the remarks in an interview with Bloomberg, where he said that the investigation has confirmed that Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook are all abusing their market power to the detriment of consumers.
“The kind of common theme is the abuse of their market power to maintain their market dominance, to crush competitors, to exclude folks from their platform and to earn monopoly rents.”
Cicilline said that he is prepared to deliver recommendations as soon as next month, and that Congress must act urgently to protect consumers. Cicilline did not go into detail about the recommendations the panel would deliver, but he says he’s working with Republicans to find common ground on “biggest, boldest ideas.”
According to Bloomberg, Cicilline did mention the possibility of a Glass-Steagall law for technology platforms, which would prevent tech companies from both running a platform and competing on it at the same time.
“That’s a big idea,” he said about separating the two functions. “It would be one way to try to separate out what is a relationship fraught with conflicts that I think is promoting tremendous market dominance and bullying behavior by Amazon, as an example.”
The antitrust committee’s report will address four areas: changes to current antitrust laws, reforms aimed at the tech sector, strengthening private antitrust litigation by plaintiffs, and ensuring the DoJ and FTC have the resources to do their jobs.
The U.S. House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee has been investigating Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook since July 2019, culminating in a hearing with the CEOs of all of the companies.
For Apple, the subcommittee has focused on the company’s App Store policies and fees, specifically instances where it has rejected apps and changed App Store rules to its apparent benefit, such as when it began rejecting some parental control apps for using Mobile Device Management after the release of the Screen Time feature.