WASHINGTON-The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday it had ordered Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google's parent companies Alphabet and Microsoft to hand over information on past acquisitions to expand its assessment of the power of large tech companies.
F.T.C. said it requires information on hundreds of small-scale transactions conducted by the five tech companies over the past decade, which do not need to be reported to regulators in accordance with the law, and can provide insights on abuse of antitrust. Over the years, Facebook, Google, and others have acquired dozens of smaller technology companies, many of them for less than $ 100 million.
The Federal Trade Commission Joseph J. Simons said: "If we find problematic transactions during the study period, all our options are on the table and it is conceivable that we can take enforcement action against these transactions. The chairman said on the phone with reporters. He added that the information order is separate from the ongoing antitrust investigation of large high-tech companies by the Federal Trade Commission, but could provide a basis for the investigation.
These actions have intensified scrutiny in Washington of the largest US technology company. The Justice Department, Congress, and state attorney general are also examining Apple, Amazon, and other companies to investigate whether they have engaged in anticompetitive behavior in many different areas. Lawmakers have united to solve this problem in this rare bipartisan cooperation.
When examining small transactions for ten years, F.T.C. Implying that it is specializing in technology industry practices, smaller competitors have said that it can stop competition. This practice is known in the technology industry as a "killer acquisition." Under this strategy, large tech companies have acquired a nascent competitor to protect their dominance and prevent smaller competitors from growing into a bigger threat.
A. Douglas Melamed said: "It is worrying that large companies such as Facebook and Google have made hundreds of acquisitions with the intention of suppressing sprouts that could eventually become important competitions that could change the paradigm Opponents and innovators. "Professor of Stanford Law School, former antitrust official at the Department of Justice.
It is worth mentioning that in its announcement it mentioned that Microsoft had been requested to provide information. Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google have been under scrutiny by regulators since last year, and Microsoft, which settled with antitrust lawsuits in the late 1990s, seems to have shrugged off most of the current rally.
Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google all declined to comment. A Microsoft spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
F.T.C.'s request may generate a lot of information.
in a Sample order The agency issued the document requesting internal documents related to the acquisition, including analysis provided to senior management and minutes of board meetings discussing the acquisition. It asks whether certain purchases are "data acquisitions" and which venture capitalists and angel investors own shares in the company being acquired.
The announcement immediately cast a shadow over the stocks of large technology companies. Nasdaq [Nasdaq] [Technology] Facebook and Microsoft have been hit particularly hard.
Rhode Island Democratic representative David Sicilian, who is in charge of the House Judiciary Committee's investigation of the tech giant, said in a statement that the FTC order is "an important step in correcting decades of inaction by antitrust law enforcement agencies. Integration into the digital market. "
Last month, the House panel heard testimony from executives of small companies such as Sonos and PopSockets Who said that giant Google and Amazon, for example, hurt their business.
The US Department of Justice plans to have a series of public discussions with venture capitalists this week in Silicon Valley. The panellists for this event will focus on the so-called "killer zone" [when a company's dominance makes attempts to establish a competitive company useless] and investments in markets dominated by major Internet platforms.