An antitrust report yesterday from the U.S. House of representatives found that major tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google) enjoyed monopoly power in select areas of their business. The report also came with recommendations aimed at rectifying this. Some of these potential solutions involved breaking up these companies and spinning off businesses where these companies dominated into their own discrete companies. For instance, YouTube could become a separate company away from Google to tackle the company’s dominance of online advertising.
As you’d imagine, Google was not very pleased with this suggestion. Writing on the Google Blog, CEO Sundar Pichai said:
We disagree with today’s reports, which feature outdated and inaccurate allegations from commercial rivals about Search and other services.
Americans simply don’t want Congress to break Google’s products or harm the free services they use every day. The goal of antitrust law is to protect consumers, not help commercial rivals. Many of the proposals bandied about in today’s reports—whether breaking up companies or undercutting Section 230—would cause real harm to consumers, America’s technology leadership and the U.S. economy—all for no clear gain.
The CEO also noted its work in helping users keep ownership of their personal data. Aside from Google Takeout, it also supports Facebook’s data portability service. The company noted its work with the Android operating system which it offered free of charge.
We support Congress focusing on areas where clearer laws would help consumers, a few of which are mentioned in today’s reports: Google has long championed the importance of data portability and open mobile platforms; we are arguing a case before the Supreme Court tomorrow for the important principle of software interoperability; and we have urged Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation. We look forward to engaging with Congress on these and other issues moving forward.
Apple also disagreed with the report on its own terms, noting that the App Store had created a powerful ecosystem for consumers and developers alike and that “developers have been primary beneficiaries of this ecosystem. ” Amazon too objected, arguing that the proposed changes would only reduce competition.
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