US House to deliver final report on big tech antitrust probe in 'first part' of 2020

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2019
The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee expects to deliver a final report on an investigation into potential antitrust breaches by big technology companies, including Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, in the first part of 2020.

Congress


Antitrust panel chair Rep. David Cicilline revealed the committee's tentative timeline in a hearing on Friday, reports Reuters.

"Our hope is to conclude our evidence collection end of this year, beginning of next year with the idea that we will have a final report, instead of recommendations in the first part of next year," Cicilline said.

On Thursday, the Judiciary Committee said it received "initial submissions" of documents related to the antitrust probe from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google parent company Alphabet. Each of the four firms has been tasked with divulging what is thought to be a large amount of data relating to a variety of anti-competition issues.

Apple, for example, was asked to provide documents pertaining to digital markets. Among the issues pertaining to Apple is its tight control of the App Store, so-called "Sherlocking" of third-party apps and features, and stringent regulations applied to parental control apps.

During the Friday hearing, Rohit Chopra, Commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, said tech companies can potentially leverage consumer data collected through free services to gain an unfair advantage over competitors. He added that regulators will need to brainstorm new penalties for firms that participate in illegal activities, as financial sanctions alone will not suffice, the report said.

Along with the House probe, big tech's business strategies are being scrutinized by state and federal courts, as well as the Department of Justice.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    If the Democratic Party goes after banks, I see little reason they shouldn’t go after these tech companies either. 
  • Reply 2 of 22
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,644member
    I'm just hoping the House has some unbiased technical people who can cut through the political crap presented by House representatives, corporate lobbyists, CEOs and the WH. Rep. David Cicilline is a lawyer (Brown University (BA), Georgetown University (JD)) and he's the antitrust chair. He probably knows the law but does he understand the complexities of the bug tech firms and their products.
  • Reply 3 of 22
    Can’t we just agree, private information should stay private?  And, make it happen...

    I’m not that worried about software and service monopolies... someone will eventually build a better mouse trap.  

    There are two bigger problems, one infrastructure companies like cable & telco (because of huge financial barriers).  And two, huge companies buying other companies, because they stamp out competition before it can grow.
    badmonk
  • Reply 4 of 22
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,429member
    rob53 said:
    ...the complexities of the bug tech firms...
    Couldn’t have described the industry better.
  • Reply 5 of 22
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,671member
    The house and basically all politicians are completely clueless on this matter. All you have to do is watch the testimony and hearings. Regardless of party affiliation, they are generally clueless about how these things actually work. From algorithms, to curated feeds, to shadow banning, etc.  

    steven n.SpamSandwichbadmonk
  • Reply 6 of 22
    jdwjdw Posts: 993member
    Another highly political story, but Comments aren't banned.

    And yet, we see the "Apple CEO Tim Cook calls on Senate to pass immigration act" story has all Comments banned.

    I fail to see the logic.  Is one story but 50% political, another 75%, and stories under which Comments are forbidden 99% political?  Or is it simply a matter of internal AppleInsider politics?

    All white fascinating indeed.
  • Reply 7 of 22
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,547moderator
    jdw said:
    Another highly political story, but Comments aren't banned.

    And yet, we see the "Apple CEO Tim Cook calls on Senate to pass immigration act" story has all Comments banned.

    I fail to see the logic.  Is one story but 50% political, another 75%, and stories under which Comments are forbidden 99% political?  Or is it simply a matter of internal AppleInsider politics?
    Some political topics are contentious, others aren't. Contentious politics are more likely to result in arguments. It's usually pretty obvious which topics are likely to result in arguments. One indicator is when people complain about certain topics being neutered. If people need a place to vent over those kind of topics, there are plenty of sites available to do that. A number of the topics that are closed have been left open in the past and have resulted in uncivilized arguments, which don't add enough value to be worth having at all.
    gatorguyfastasleepbadmonk
  • Reply 8 of 22
    Regardless of party affiliation, they are generally clueless about how these things actually work. From algorithms, to curated feeds, to shadow banning, etc.  

    And that's exactly what the tech companies have been taking advantage of during the past few decades, which is why it's probably a net positive to have some structured investigations in Congress. A lot of what the tech world refers to as "disruption" is often just using digital means to ignore laws that are already on the books for non-digital markets.
  • Reply 9 of 22
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 969member
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
  • Reply 10 of 22
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,439member
    seankill said:
    If the Democratic Party goes after banks, I see little reason they shouldn’t go after these tech companies either. 
    "Goes after banks", you mean makes sure banks don't violate banking regulations as they did leading up to the Great Recession at the end of the last decade? 
    Monopolies are bad and it's been proven time and time again but people have short memories. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 11 of 22
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,439member

    Can’t we just agree, private information should stay private?  And, make it happen...

    I’m not that worried about software and service monopolies... someone will eventually build a better mouse trap.  

    There are two bigger problems, one infrastructure companies like cable & telco (because of huge financial barriers).  And two, huge companies buying other companies, because they stamp out competition before it can grow.
    Over 100 years ago one man's company controlled a vast amount of America's train system, this is comparable to one company being owned by one Airline. How. would consumers benefit from just having one airline with take it or leave policies? 
  • Reply 12 of 22
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
  • Reply 13 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    hexclock said:
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
    I'm fairly certain you understand the gist of what he's saying.
    muthuk_vanalingamavon b7
  • Reply 14 of 22
    seankill said:
    If the Democratic Party goes after banks, I see little reason they shouldn’t go after these tech companies either. 
    Want to go after banks? Support ending the Federal Reserve or at the bare minimum, support currency competition in the US.
  • Reply 15 of 22
    rob53 said:
    I'm just hoping the House has some unbiased technical people who can cut through the political crap presented by House representatives, corporate lobbyists, CEOs and the WH. Rep. David Cicilline is a lawyer (Brown University (BA), Georgetown University (JD)) and he's the antitrust chair. He probably knows the law but does he understand the complexities of the bug tech firms and their products.
    Why would the House “cut through the political crap”? It’s ALL political crap. There is no reason to have any antitrust laws in the US. Why? Because large business interests which fail to serve their customers don’t last long. It’s only those connected to Washington who are able to PREVENT competition who are the problem. Competitive markets don’t result in monopolies.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    gatorguy said:
    hexclock said:
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
    I'm fairly certain you understand the gist of what he's saying.
    I don’t. Is he saying that because the market value of a company is high means that “something” should be done about it? Huh? So, today, Apple is valued at over 1T.  But if the stock tanks tomorrow and the value drops down to under 900B then everything is fine, I guess, even if there’s been no drastic change to Apple as a business. 

    I don’t see how that makes any sense. 
  • Reply 17 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    gatorguy said:
    hexclock said:
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
    I'm fairly certain you understand the gist of what he's saying.
    I don’t. Is he saying that because the market value of a company is high means that “something” should be done about it? Huh? So, today, Apple is valued at over 1T.  But if the stock tanks tomorrow and the value drops down to under 900B then everything is fine, I guess, even if there’s been no drastic change to Apple as a business. 

    I don’t see how that makes any sense. 
    Large multi-trillion market with access to and financial success in it controlled in large part by three companies: Apple, Microsoft, Google. Without their blessing life will be tough for a new entrant.  There is truth to the old saying "in money there is power".

    It concerns me a bit too, and it should yours IMO. 
    edited October 2019 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 18 of 22
    gatorguy said:
    hexclock said:
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
    I'm fairly certain you understand the gist of what he's saying.
    Certainly I do, however I’d like to hear the reasoning behind that particular figure, and how that’s any different than 700 billion, say. My point being it’s an arbitrary number.  
  • Reply 19 of 22
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,171member
    hexclock said:
    gatorguy said:
    hexclock said:
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
    I'm fairly certain you understand the gist of what he's saying.
    Certainly I do, however I’d like to hear the reasoning behind that particular figure, and how that’s any different than 700 billion, say. My point being it’s an arbitrary number.  
    Gotcha. 
  • Reply 20 of 22
    gatorguy said:
    gatorguy said:
    hexclock said:
    tyler82 said:
    Avid Apple user since 1989

    $1 trillion companies should not exist. 
    Is that an arbitrary figure, or do you have some reasoning behind it?
    I'm fairly certain you understand the gist of what he's saying.
    I don’t. Is he saying that because the market value of a company is high means that “something” should be done about it? Huh? So, today, Apple is valued at over 1T.  But if the stock tanks tomorrow and the value drops down to under 900B then everything is fine, I guess, even if there’s been no drastic change to Apple as a business. 

    I don’t see how that makes any sense. 
    Large multi-trillion market with access to and financial success in it controlled in large part by three companies: Apple, Microsoft, Google. Without their blessing life will be tough for a new entrant.  There is truth to the old saying "in money there is power".

    It concerns me a bit too, and it should yours IMO. 
    Market capitalization doesn’t have anything to do with it. The same can be said for the telcos and they aren’t even close to trillion-dollar valuations. 

    So by @tyler82’s argument the power Comcast has is irrelevant because it’s market cap is only on the 200Bs. 
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