What Happened: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) have agreed to split up jurisdiction over four possible investigations involving Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook, The Wall Street Journal reported June 3. The DOJ will oversee potential antitrust probes into Apple and Google's business practices, while the FTC will handle potential investigations into Amazon and Facebook's practices.
Why It Matters: It is possible that the companies will be able to blunt their respective DOJ and FTC probes, since the U.S. antitrust system prioritizes maximizing consumer welfare. While the four firms certainly have commanding positions in their markets, they also offer many of their services for free. Thus, many have argued that the tech giants benefit U.S. consumers significantly, despite their monopolies over niche areas.
Background: The United States has recently seen a growing political push for a crackdown on U.S. tech and social media giants. This, coupled with the fact that most digital platforms lend themselves to monopolies, mean similar legal concerns will continue to arise.
- The Age of Splinternet: The Inevitable Fracturing of the Internet (April 25, 2019)
- Data Privacy and AI Ethics Stepped to the Fore in 2018 (Jan. 2, 2019)