Big Tech — lawmakers condemn ‘monopoly power’
- In a historic push to challenge the power of the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, the report backed by democratic lawmakers urged for changes that could result in a potentially major shift
- Antitrust enforcers at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are preparing for legal action against some of the companies
The lead up to next month’s United States Presidential election has been rife with heavy election issues, from COVID to Black Lives Matter, and the economy to law enforcement. 2020, it turns out, hasn’t quite materialized into the ideal vision that some may have previously imagined. In addition to a host of burdening social issues is the conundrum that now faces Big Tech.
In a historic push to challenge the power of the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple, the latest damning report backed by democratic lawmakers this week has urged for changes that could result in a potentially major shift to how these businesses operate.
Stacked with evidence collected over 16 months, the 449-page report, that most likely resembles the height of a toddler, sharply focuses on the big four and accuses them of charging high fees, forcing smaller customers into unfavorable contracts, and using “killer acquisitions” to stifle competition.
The recommendations by the report follow increased scrutiny in Washington over their size and power in recent years, with a conclusion that makes for grim reading:
“To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog start-ups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons.”
The results of the investigation could very well lead to legislation that reigns in Big Tech’s influence, with Antitrust enforcers at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission preparing for legal action against some of the companies.
For many start-ups and small businesses, the proposed new regulations offer a glimmer of much-needed relief in an unforgiving marketplace that hinders industry growth.
“It’s a relief to see that lawmakers are recognizing the detrimental impacts of a tech oligopoly and devising tangible steps to diversifying the market. A handful of companies owning the world’s data and lions’ share of the market has undoubtedly had an impact over recent years, making it tough for startups to catch a break. What’s more, for public services, the contractual commitments, and subsequent vendor lock-in are costly, complicated, and potentially unethical,” said Simon Hansford, CEO at UKCloud in an interview with TechHQ.
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While members of the panel concluded that the tech giants — which command more than US$5 trillion in total market cap — have monopolistic exploits in their business models, the report, for the most part, stands in contrary to the Republican stance. With Republicans reportedly responding to many recommendations as “non-starters”, the battle of Big Tech looks set to be yet another polarizing topic.
The existing infrastructures are terrible, and the scathing case against Big Tech will only crystallize these issues for a global audience of tens of millions.
“For the tech community to thrive and competition to exist, the industry should no longer be monopolized by the tech giants. It will be interesting to see how things progress,” adds Hansford.
2 December 2022
1 December 2022