Big tech companies have come under more scrutiny over the past year, with the likes of Google and Apple being investigated for potential antitrust violations in particular by the European Union.
Now it’s the turn of the United States Justice Department, which has announced that it will be conducting a wider spread investigation into some of the larger tech companies regarding how competition in the marketplace is handled.
More specifically the Department will be looking at firms like Facebook, Google and Amazon, and whether the online platforms that those kinds of companies offer stifle competition in any way.
“Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands,” explained assistant attorney general, Makan Delrahim, “The Department’s antitrust review will explore these important issues.”
The Department is already conducting similar probes into Google and Apple, but those investigations will remain separate from the new one that has been announced.
In terms of the platforms that the Department will look at, its review noted that social media, retail and search engines will receive particular attention for antitrust violations, with the way in which search results or how content from competitors is displayed and accessed being a primary focus here.
“The goal of the Department’s review is to assess the competitive conditions in the online marketplace in an objective and fair-minded manner and to ensure Americans have access to free markets in which companies compete on the merits to provide services that users want,” added the antitrust review announcement.
“If violations of law are identified, the Department will proceed appropriately to seek redress,” it ends.
As for what kinds of fines violators could receive, remains to be seen, as is when the review process will be completed. Either way it looks like big tech companies are being taken to task.