The U.S. government is taking its first steps to launch far-reaching investigations into Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, hiring attorneys, economists and technology analysts as they examine whether the companies abused their powerful market positions to undermine competitors.
The Justice Department has asked Congress for an additional $1.8 million for its antitrust division, and is in the process of making new hires as it seeks to employ several dozen more people. The Federal Trade Commission is requesting $2.4 million for antitrust work. If the funding requests are even partially met, which is likely, it would mark a turnaround from the first two years of the Trump administration, when staff cuts and flat or shrinking budgets were the norm. The ramp-up in activity has put the country’s biggest tech companies on notice that they face potentially years of intense scrutiny into how they operate.