US House Antitrust Subcommittee to release report on big four tech companies

The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust today will release the report of its yearlong investigation into the so-called ‘Big Four’

Antitrust subcommitte big four

Photo: Graeme Jennings/ AFP/ Getty

The House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust today will release the report of its yearlong investigation into the so-called ‘Big Four’ tech companies.

The report marks the culmination of an extended investigation into the business practices of four of the highest-valued US tech companies—Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google—following suspicion that the companies were using anticompetitive strategies, such as mergers and the acquisition rights to competing products, to unfairly undercut competitors. The final hearing of the investigation concluded on Thursday and featured testimony from expert witnesses and in-depth discussion of courses of action to ensure a competitive tech sector moving forward.

Expect the report to follow the advice of expert witnesses and make legislative suggestions based around shifting the burden of proof that mergers will not harm competition from investigators to the companies themselves. This move would hinder the acquisitions of competing firms and make moves like Facebook’s 2012 purchase of Instagram much more difficult.

The report marks another blow to the Big Four, whose CEOs were just subpoenaed by the Senate. Turbulence for these firms in the stock market is likely, though its magnitude depends on how damning the report is and the extent of additional pressure placed on these firms by increased regulation and scrutiny.

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