April 01, 2020 Feature

Big Tech Investigated for Antitrust Violations

By James F. Herbison

Leading technology companies that provide key parts of our national technological infrastructure are facing intense antitrust scrutiny at both the federal and state levels. Regulators and enforcers are generally investigating whether market-leading online platforms gained or maintained market power through anticompetitive practices, or have otherwise harmed consumers. In June 2019, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) split jurisdiction over the four technology companies that have recently raised the most significant competition concerns: Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. Under the arrangement, the FTC took jurisdiction over Amazon and Facebook, and the DOJ assumed jurisdiction over Apple and Google.1 In addition, Congress’s House Committee on the Judiciary announced its own antitrust investigation of digital markets and recently requested information from the leaders of the “Big Four.” Further, at the state level, state attorneys’ general from across the country have joined together in separate antitrust investigations of Google and Facebook. Lastly, Ryan A. Shores, associate deputy attorney general and senior advisor for technology industries, was recently appointed to help coordinate and guide the DOJ’s investigations into online platforms.

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