U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. Photo: AP
Google Facebook Policy

Tech Antitrust Battle to Test Agencies’ Leverage

By and  |  Aug. 20, 2019 7:01 AM PDT
Photo: U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, D.C. Photo: AP

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.

Get access to exclusive coverage
Read deeply reported stories from the largest newsroom in tech.
Latest Articles
 
Reality Check Facebook AR/VR
Facebook Brings Back ‘Brutally Honest’ VR App Reviews
John Carmack. Photo: Bloomberg
Legendary graphics programmer and rocketry dabbler John Carmack doesn’t mince words. As one of the creatives behind 1993’s Doom and the former CTO of Oculus (and still an adviser for Facebook), Carmack’s in-person VR app critiques became a popular event at Facebook’s annual VR and AR conferences, as a rare opportunity for up-and-coming designers to get feedback from someone with decades of...
Latest Briefs
 
Zuckerberg Shows Off Facebook Audio Rooms
Zuckerberg Shows Off Facebook Audio Rooms
Zuckerberg Shows Off Facebook Audio Rooms
Stay in the know
Receive a summary of the day's top tech news—distilled into one email.
Access on the go
View stories on our mobile app and tune into our weekly podcast.
Join live video Q&A’s
Deep-dive into topics like startups and autonomous vehicles with our top reporters and other executives.
Enjoy a clutter-free experience
Read without any banner ads.
Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden. Photo by Bloomberg.
SPAC Boom Helps Tech Founders Cement Control
When scooter-rental startup Bird goes public later this year, CEO Travis VanderZanden won’t have to worry about the firm’s uncertain prospects emboldening activist shareholders.
Sequoia Capital's offices in Menlo Park, Calif. Photo: Bloomberg
Venture Capital Startups
Is Sand Hill Road Over? No. But Zoom Deals Are Here to Stay
When Andreessen Horowitz finishes construction on its new office in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, its partners shouldn’t expect to find an assigned desk waiting for them.
Gene Farrell, Smartsheet’s chief strategy and product officer. Photo by Bloomberg
The Big Interview Enterprise Amazon
A Former AWS Executive Helps Smartsheet Grow Up
When Gene Farrell left Amazon Web Services four years ago to join a company called Smartsheet, his former employer sued Farrell for violating his noncompete agreement.
EzCater CEO Stefania Mallett (l), Kinside CEO Shadiah Sigala (center) and SeatGeek CEO Jack Groetzinger (right). Photos: ezCater, Kinside and SeatGeek
Startups
Three Startups Show How the Pandemic’s Hardest Hit Are Rebounding
Kinside CEO Shadiah Sigala remembers the moment in November when she knew her startup, which helps parents find day care openings, wasn’t just recovering after a tough half year—it was about to take off.
Locomation trucks on the test track at the Transportation Research Center in East Liberty, Ohio. Credit: Locomation
Exclusive Autonomous Vehicles Markets
Two More Self-Driving-Truck Developers Consider Public Offerings
Embark Trucks and Locomation, both of which develop self-driving semitrailers to haul freight over long distances, have recently discussed going public, including by merging with a shell company known as a special purpose acquisition vehicle, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.
The Takeaway Venture Capital Startups
Founder Burnout and Why You Should Care
Before we dive into The Takeaway, I want to draw your attention to two quick things. First, thank you to everyone who has filled out our major tech comp survey .