MOSCOW, July 13 — RIA Novosti, Natalia Dembinski. Representatives of Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon were summoned to the Congress in connection with the antitrust investigation initiated by the Federal trade Commission and the Ministry of justice. Us lawmakers are sure that the giants of Silicon valley have gained such power that literally enslaved market, and with it an urgent need to do something. What threatens “big four” accusations of monopoly and why the largest technology companies in the world could eventually nothing to stay in the material RIA Novosti.
Under antitrust investigation by the Federal trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of justice will get abused if IT giants of their dominant position.
Officials believe that these companies threaten the freedom of the market, impose on the consumers unjustified high prices, as well as to freely collect huge amounts of personal data via ‘free’ services and applications.
“Google controls 94% of search in mobile phones, with 2.7 billion Facebook users — the largest social network in the world,” said Congressman David Cicilline. Both companies are absolutely clear monopoly, he said. In fact, the free app is not free as collect user data, violating privacy. And what’s worse — use this data for unfair competition and elimination of rivals — smaller technology companies.
That the business model of Google to check, and sure Republican Senator Lindsey Graham. “They got too much power, which have no limits”, he said. And Democrat Richard Blumenthal called the leading players in Silicon valley “predator” and required to apply antitrust sanctions.
The judicial Committee of the house of representatives will hold a series of hearings on this issue. The first will be held on 16 July, where representatives of the “big four” will try to convince legislators that their dominance does not harm the market, and encourages innovation.
Billions of dollars in fines
It is unlikely their arguments will impress. In recent years, these companies became defendants in antitrust cases and pay huge fines.
So, Google in 2013 was accused of copying to improve their own services, but also — in a deliberate underestimation of the position of competitors in search results. And when they complained, I threatened to exclude from the search. The decision of the Federal trade Commission then has surprised even its own experts — the investigation stopped.
In 2016, the Federal Antimonopoly service of Russia has fined Google to 438 million rubles for abuse of dominant position in the market pre-installed app stores in the Android OS. The European Commission in 2017 2.42 billion euros for abuse of dominant position in the market of Internet search, and in July of last year — to a record 4.3 billion euros.
Claim to Facebook no less serious. According to analysts, the social network collects personal data of users is almost free, and having saved them a huge amount of dictated advertisers prices. As expected, the company will soon pay five billion fine for data transfer 90 million users of consulting firm Cambridge Analytica involved in the election campaign of Donald trump in 2016.
By the way, the US President also repeatedly offered to conduct an investigation against the giants of Silicon valley. Especially worried about his social platforms, he thinks that Google and Facebook, and also Twitter are in an undeclared war against members of the Conservative party of the United States, exposing their messages censored.
As for Apple, there is a problem in the online store App Store. In March, democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren expressed the opinion that the company has no right to maintain a corporate app store, placing it ON its own. It violates the rights of third-party developers.
In June they filed against the company, Tim cook class action lawsuit. “Apple keeps 30 percent of sales revenue, forbids to set the cost of less than us $ 0.99 and requires that the price is always over 0.99. Because of this, the App Store is crowded — there are over two million apps that no one sees” — resent the developers.
Pull the blanket over himself
Although all of the “big four” are accused of the same — abuse of a dominant position, about their solidarity, however. So, the Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak recently advised all to leave the social network Facebook, in order to preserve confidentiality. Your account it was already removed.
“Major technology companies, including Facebook, interfere in private life — said Wozniak. Who knows, maybe my phone listening to right now.” Despite the fact that the illegal wiretapping suspected and very “Apple”.
As shown by last year’s investigation of the newspaper the New York Times, the eavesdropping was conducted through special applications that are distributed in the same App Store. They contain a special code called Alphonso, that is activated when using any of Apple gadgets, claimed the authors of the investigation.
However, accusations of monopoly Tim cook rejected. “I don’t think anyone in their right mind can come to such a conclusion. Our share is much more modest than critics contend. We do not have a dominant position in any market. Guess, check, initiated by Congress, is fair. But we are not a monopoly,” he said.
To divide into parts
In this situation, legislators are ready to take the most drastic measures.
As noted by the candidate in US presidents from Democratic party, Elizabeth Warren, the largest players in Silicon valley “walked through the competition with a bulldozer, strangled innovation and introduced the rules of the game that do harm to others.” Therefore, they also need to act tough — to divide into parts.
The plan Warren, of the company, whose annual revenue exceeds $ 25 billion, it is necessary to legally recognize the “platform utilities”, which will be deprived of their right to simultaneous possession and the platform itself and its participants. They will not be able to buy out potential competitors and to use a dominant position to move into other areas of business. It is also proposed to prohibit suppliers of the platform to transfer user data to third parties.
In addition, all recent acquisitions the giants should be recognized as illegal anti-competitive mergers. In this case, Facebook will have to get rid of Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon from Zappos and Whole Foods, Google will lose YouTube, and Apple will give up the App Store.
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