The American technology companies Facebook, Apple, Google and Amazon are largely abusing their dominant position in the market for online services. In order to combat this distortion of competition, far-reaching measures are required, according to a committee of the House of Representatives. In a long-awaited report, the committee proposes rules that could lead to a forced split between the technology giants.
The Committee believes that Facebook has become monopolies on social media and Google on search engines through illegal practices. The online retailers Amazon and Apple have “significant and lasting market power”, which they have partially achieved by excluding competition.
As a result, innovation is increasingly discouraged by competitors. In addition, consumers’ privacy position is deteriorating due to the dominance of a handful of technology companies. It’s also getting harder and harder to get reliable news online as few large companies have much influence over sales.
According to the committee, a major problem is that large technology companies provide a service for other companies, but at the same time compete with the same companies. For example, the committee found evidence that Google, through its Android operating system, was collecting information about apps from other companies, which in turn could be used to make its own copies of those apps. Amazon used data on top-selling third-party products on its platform to recreate the same products itself. “This position allows them to impose a number of rules on others while disobeying them,” the report said.
To address this conflict of interest, the House Committee would like technology giants not to operate in certain overlapping markets. If Congress finally adopts this advice, it could result in the forced sale of business units. It is also possible to force large technology companies to intervene in their own organization in certain ways in order to avoid conflicts of interest.