A new report from US congress says Google, and other big tech companies Facebook, Apple, and Amazon need to be “reined in.”
According to the US House of Representatives, all four companies are abusing their monopoly power. Noting that they “control the market” yet are also competing in it along with all other companies.
Each company is also singled out in a particular area of the market that it controls. Google, for example, is signified in the new report from congress as being a monopoly in Search. Meanwhile Apple is accused of abusing it’s control over the App Store.
Amazon is accused of leveraging its control over the online merchant business. While Facebook is being criticized for buying its competitors so it only ends up competing with its own products. Or copying the offerings of those competitors by using their data to identify them. Eventually overtaking their userbase.
The new report from Congress says Google hurts competitors
Google is not necessarily the focal point of this report. But it is a big part of it. Google has been under the microscope on numerous occasions across a wide variety of cases over the past five years or more.
Though many of the times it’s been under scrutiny from regulatory bodies were from different cases and different committees, it’s been looked at perhaps more than the other big tech companies for similar reasons.
The report filed today, which is 449 pages long, alleges that Google hurts competitors by prioritizing its own products in Search. This includes listing its own products above the products of other companies in search results. As well as listing snippets of content that come from publishers in its prepared answers.
These usually sit at the top of the page after performing a query on Google. So users may not feel the need to seek out the full set of content. Staying on Google’s page instead.
The report also attacks Android, stating that Google “strong-arms” manufacturers into using Google’s suite of apps in devices instead of just their own or those of other third-party alternatives.
“The era of oil barons and railroad tycoons”
There’s no doubt that each of the four companies has been heavily scrutinized for anti-competitive practices of late. But a comparison in the report certainly paints things in a different light.
The subcommittee, which is led by David Cicilline, compares Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon to monopolies from the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons. It’s a contrast that is less than flattering.
The report also recognizes the benefits of all four companies. But follows that up by saying that it comes at a cost. Accusing them of playing by a different set of rules than the ones they set for everyone else in the market.
It’s a general tone that suggests yet again that the power of these companies goes unchecked to a certain degree. And that multiple points of the industry need to be restructured. Including stronger antitrust laws, as well as making it more challenging for larger firms to buy up smaller competitors.