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Tech giants reject monopoly claims in US report

Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon contested the conclusions from a blistering 450-page report issued by a US congressional committee, which found the companies abused their control over the digital economy and recommended politicians pass laws to check their power.

The document highlighted increased concentration in key digital markets, including mobile operating systems and app stores, social networking, and online search and advertising, noting a handful of dominant companies have amassed and exploited “gatekeeper power” over these to “dictate terms and extract concessions that no one would reasonably consent to in a competitive market”.

It specifically accused the four tech giants of engaging in anti-competitive practices, using acquisitions, restrictive contracts and discrimination against rivals to maintain monopoly positions in their respective markets.

This dynamic “diminished consumer choice, eroded innovation and entrepreneurship in the US economy, weakened the vibrancy of the free and diverse press, and undermined Americans’ privacy,” it concluded.

The report recommended Congress pass new or amend existing laws to prohibit dominant platforms from operating in adjacent markets; ban self-preferencing; mandate data portability; eliminate forced arbitration clauses; and strengthen merger reviews.

Google slammed the report as “outdated and inaccurate” in a statement, adding “the goal of antitrust law is to protect consumers, not help commercial rivals”. It argued the recommended actions would “would cause real harm to consumers, America’s technology leadership and the US economy, all for no clear gain”.

In a statement to MacRumors, Apple said it “vehemently” disagreed with the report’s conclusions, insisting it “does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business”. It added “developers have been primary beneficiaries” of its App Store ecosystem, which it argued “has enabled new markets, new services and new products that were unimaginable a dozen years ago”.

The report marked the culmination of an investigation launched in June 2019, during which the CEOs of all four companies defended their practices.

Congressman David Cicilline, chair of the committee which released the document, told Politico he expects politicians will act on the recommendations in 2021.Mobile World Live

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