US tech giants accused of 'monopoly power'

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Jeff Bezos from Amazon, Tim Cook from Apple, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook and Sundar Pichai from Google defended their companies

A Democratic Legislative-backed report has called for changes that could lead to the breakup of some of America’s largest tech companies.

The recommendation follows a 16-month congressional investigation into Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple.

“These companies have too much power, and that power needs to be curtailed,” wrote the Democratic legislature working on the investigation.

However, the Republicans involved in the effort disagreed with the recommendations.

In a statement, a Republican Congressman, Jim Jordan, dismissed the report as “partisan” and said he had “made radical proposals that would reshape antitrust law in the vision of the far left”.

American tech companies have been scrutinized for size and power in Washington in recent years. The House Justice Committee investigation is just one of several investigations that companies like Facebook and Apple are facing.

The report, which was written by committee staff, accused companies of charging high fees, forcing smaller customers into unfavorable contracts, and using “killer acquisitions” to hobble rivals.

“To put it simply, companies that were once scratchy, inferior startups that challenged the status quo have become monopolies that we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” it said.

But divisions in Washington between Republicans and Democrats make the prospect of significant action against the companies unlikely, said Wedbush Securities tech analyst Dan Ives.

“The lack of consensus and divergence between both sides of the aisle on antitrust issues remains an important issue to move things forward,” he said.

While that could change if the Democrats gain more power in the upcoming US election, he said, “Despite the report / content and framework for recommendations around big tech actors (e.g. M&A, business practices ) Without fundamental changes in the law, we believe that this antitrust dynamic is a brick wall. “