The Federal government of the United States has opened an antitrust investigation into online platforms. While not naming names, the Justice Department cited concerns about services related to “search, social media, and some retail services online.”
CNBC, among others, took this as an apparent reference to Alphabet (Google’s parent), Amazon, Facebook, and Apple.
The DOJ wrote that it was “seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms, as well as others.”
Press release follows:
The Department of Justice announced today that the Department’s Antitrust Division is reviewing whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.
The Department’s review will consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online. The Department’s Antitrust Division is conferring with and seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms, as well as others.
“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Antitrust Division. “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”
The goal of the Department’s review is to assess the competitive conditions in the online marketplace in an objective and fair-minded manner and to ensure Americans have access to free markets in which companies compete on the merits to provide services that users want. If violations of law are identified, the Department will proceed appropriately to seek redress.
SOURCE: Justice Department Press Release