After a 16-month antitrust investigation against Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google, the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust has released its findings and recommendations on reforming laws in the digital age. The report contains about 450 pages of conclusions from hearings, interviews, and the study of 1,3 million documents.
For IT giants, these conclusions are disappointing. Congress found that all four companies use their monopoly power, so it recommends to spin off or separate parts of their businesses or make it harder for them to buy smaller companies.
The general recommendations from Democratic staff are as follows:
- Imposing structural separations and prohibiting dominant platforms from entering adjacent lines of business. It means that the Democratic staff recommends, for example, Google to divest and separate from YouTube or Facebook to do the same with Instagram and WhatsApp.
- Instructing antitrust agencies to presume mergers by dominant platforms to be anticompetitive, shifting the burden onto the merging parties to prove their deal would not harm competition, rather than making enforcers prove it would.
- Preventing dominant platforms from preferencing their own services, instead, making them offer "equal terms for equal products and services."
- Requiring dominant firms to make their services compatible with competitors and allow users to transfer their data.
Republicans did not support all of the recommendations made by the Democrats. In particular, they opposed the structural division of companies.