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Senate Antitrust Panel to Hold Hearing on Big Tech

Control over the App Store is one problem with Google, but by no means the only one. Google is a vast repository of private information and we believe that their App Store dominance is only one small part of their anticompetitive activity across the wider economy – which includes dominance over SEO, advertising and the flow of dollars to online publishers, as evidenced by a recent $1.7 billion antitrust fine levied against Google by European regulators.

We believe that an investigation of these companies will reveal all manner of anticompetitive conduct in areas as diverse as search ranking, advertising, browser bundling, and even browser performance.

A Senate panel will hold a hearing later this month to examine antitrust concerns about Silicon Valley mergers as tech giants continue to face heightened scrutiny over their market power.The Senate Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust announced Tuesday that it would hold a hearing on Sept. 24 to “explore issues relating to competition in technology markets and the antitrust agencies’ efforts to root out anticompetitive conduct.”

“Acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors by dominant digital platforms can be pro-competitive, but they also run the risk of eliminating the very competition that may challenge the incumbent firm’s leading position in the future,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), who chairs the panel, said in a statement. “We are holding this hearing to gain a better understanding of the various concerns raised by these transactions and to examine how the antitrust agencies analyze such mergers.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), the subcommittee’s ranking Democrat and a 2020 presidential candidate, said the series of acquisitions that have propelled tech giants’ rapid growth over the years raise “serious competition issues.”“Big technology companies have become some of the most powerful organizations in the world,” she said in a statement. “They face little competition and there are numerous examples of the companies purchasing startup competitors in various lines of business.”It’s unclear who will testify, but Lee said that, beyond the hearing, he’s interested in speaking with “policy analysts, market participants, and other stakeholders.”

The panel’s Democrat-led counterpart in the House has been conducting an antitrust investigation into the tech sector that’s included testimony from some of the largest companies.The mounting political interest has also coincided with a renewed scrutiny from antitrust enforcers.Facebook revealed in July that the Federal Trade Commission was conducting an antitrust investigation into the company, and the Department of Justice is conducting a review of competition issues across Silicon Valley.

Source: Senate antitrust panel to hold hearing on tech mergers | TheHill