Big Tech unites Democrats, Republicans behind anti-trust crackdown

As reported by WashingtonTimes

When lawmakers as ideologically divided as Republican Sen. Josh Hawley and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren agree your industry has become too powerful, you could be in trouble, and that’s the problem facing Big Tech.

The House Judiciary Committee is drawing support from both sides of the aisle after announcing Monday that it planned to investigate “the market power held by giant tech platforms,” which coincided with reports that the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission would pursue their own probes.

The growing chorus of concerns about the muscle of the top tech companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — extends to Silicon Valley, said Mitch Stoltz, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“I’m here in San Francisco. There’s nary a person who doesn’t think there are problems, and that they are at least in part problems of monopoly,” said Mr. Stoltz. “Not entirely — this is not the cause of nor the solution to all of the problems with the internet today — but it’s a factor. Everyone here recognizes that, including some Google, Facebook, Amazon employees.”

Tech stocks rebounded after a drop Monday following the House Judiciary Committee’s announcement. The big four companies were quiet on the antitrust investigations with the exception of Apple CEO Tim Cook, who denied his company was a monopoly.

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“If you look at any kind of measure about is Apple a monopoly or not, I don’t think anybody reasonable is going to come to the conclusion that Apple is a monopoly,” Mr. Cook told CBS News.

The moves to examine the tech companies for suspected antitrust violations come as a pivot from four decades of relative calm on the antitrust front. The last company to be broken up by the federal government was Bell telephone in 1982.

In Europe, however, Google has been slapped with billions of dollars in fines, most recently a $1.7 billion fine in March for antitrust violations stemming from its online advertising practices, which the company has appealed.

Similar concerns are growing in Congress, where alarms about privacy, ideological bias and anti-competitive practices are being sounded on the right and left and peeling off some of the tech industry’s political allies

President Trump has raised antitrust concerns about the U.S. tech industry. So has one of his biggest critics, Ms. Warren, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nod.