From investigations launched by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to senators calling for their dismantling, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google long have been the target of heated debates around antitrust concerns, Joe Kennedy writes in an op-ed for The Hill. As their CEOs prepare to testify in front of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee on competition in the digital marketplace, it’s time for regulators to finally engage in fact-based discussions about internet platforms and stop attacking some of America’s most innovative companies.
Over the past few years, these four companies have been the subject of unstoppable criticism. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pushed for breaking them up; the DOJ and the FTC both launched investigations, as have most of the state attorneys general, into at least one of the four companies. Abroad, the European Commission has concluded three investigations of Google and is looking at the other three companies.
As the House subcommittee considers the role of large online platforms on the economy, its members should acknowledge that a radical departure from current antitrust laws would be a mistake. Although antitrust authorities must remain vigilant in protecting market competition, including taking action against anticompetitive conduct, existing laws give them all the powers they need. In the words of a former senior antitrust official, in this case regulators need a scalpel, not an axe.