Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google engaged in anti-competitive, monopoly-style tactics to evolve into four of the world’s most powerful corporate behemoths, according to US congressional investigators, who called in a wide-ranging report released on Wednesday AEDT for sweeping changes that regulators could bring Silicon Valley back in check.
The roughly 450-page report, capping a 15-month investigation by the House of Representatives’ top antitrust committee, found the four tech giants relied on dubious, harmful means to solidify their dominance in search, smartphones, social networking and shopping; and in the process evaded the very regulators whose primary task it is to ensure that companies do not grow into such corporate titans.
Investigators faulted Facebook for gobbling up potential competitors with impunity, and they concluded Google had improperly scraped rivals’ websites and forced its technology on others to reach its pole position in search and advertising. Lawmakers’ report labelled both of those companies monopolies while faulting the US government for failing to crack down on them sooner.
Amazon and Apple, meanwhile, exerted “monopoly power” to protect and grow their own corporate footprints. As operators of two major online marketplaces — a world-leading shopping site for Amazon, and the powerful App Store for Apple — the two tech giants for years set rules that essentially put smaller, competing sellers and software developers at a disadvantage, the report found.