Tech is headed the same way as Big Pharma and Big Oil – Antitrust report says

A new antitrust report says that unless the government reigns in tech giants, it could go the same way as Big Pharma and Big Oil, with all the power resting in the hands of very few companies.

It claims that tech companies are increasing their lobbying efforts to stop antitrust legislation. This pressure must be stopped.

Bloomberg reports.

According to a new study, the amount of lobbying dollars tech companies spend on market concentration has increased. This is consistent with similar patterns observed in the oil and pharmaceutical industries […].

Reed Showalter, an anti-monopolist attorney from American Economic Liberties Project, wrote the study. He said that policy makers and antitrust enforcers need to look beyond the effects of mergers on consumers and think about how market concentration impacts the democratic process.

Showalter stated Tuesday that he needed to examine the various aspects of competition policy that allowed industries to become more concentrated in the past 30-40 years. “Unchecked concentration is the reason for many of the democratic harms we’re seeing people complain about when big money enters politics. It’s not a coincidence.

The study supports the arguments of many scholars who have been part of President Joe Biden’s administration and legislators advocating for stronger antitrust enforcement […]

The House antitrust subcommittee’s 2020 investigation into Amazon.com Inc. (Facebook Inc.), Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google is cited in the study. Showalter and FTC Chair Khan were both staff members of the antitrust subcommittee. They worked on the investigation and the resulting reports.

Additionally, he was a research assistant at Columbia University Law School. This school is home to anti-monopolist scholar Tim Wu. Biden selected him to head the administration’s tech policy and competition policy. Showalter is also an associate with Jonathan Kanter, the law firm that Biden selected to head the Justice Department’s antitrust section.

Apple’s biggest threat is undoubtedly antitrust issues. This is because legislation could threaten Apple’s most stable growth area: services. Apple is constantly facing lawsuits and antitrust laws around the globe.

In its home market of the US, a House committee approved a bill that would make it illegal for companies to favor their own products (like Apple apps and Apple Music) over competitor ones on their platforms. A separate bipartisan bill would force Apple to allow third-party app stores.

Apple spends relatively little on lobbying given its size and wealth, but it has roughly doubled the number of lobbyists it uses over the course of the past decade. The company has lobbyed on many issues, some of which are controversial.

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