The U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Report on Digital Markets represents a landmark in the latest round of efforts to subject the “big tech” companies to antitrust scrutiny.
The Report, clocking in at over 400 pages, and published after a thorough set of hearings, sets out detailed concerns primarily with respect to the conduct of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, all of whom are alleged to operate dominant “platform” businesses. Significantly, the report was also issued in the context of various investigations by Federal, state, and international agencies into these companies’ conduct. Its political salience can therefore scarcely be underestimated.
On a technical level, the stated aim of the Report is to examine whether such dominant firms are engaging in anticompetitive conduct, and whether existing antitrust laws are adequate to address any such issues. The pieces in this Chronicle set out to evaluate the Report in light of these stated aims, and to assess its likely outcomes. As these pieces make clear, the jury is still out on the Report’s content and its likely implementation.
What appears clear, however, as the timely articles in this Chronicle illustrate, is that there are winds of change in the air. Regardless of how the conclusions in the Report are implemented, the climate has become frostier for the large platform operators, and there will inevitably be practical changes in how such companies adapt their conduct to the...