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DOJ Antitrust Chief Fires Warning Shot at Digital Giants

The Justice Department’s antitrust chief said today that “one or two” companies are dominating critical sectors of the digital economy, the latest signal that Washington may be preparing action to curb the market dominance of internet giants including Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

“[D]igital markets are not impervious to anticompetitive transactions, illegal restraints, and unlawfully obtained or exercised monopoly power,” Mr. Delrahim said in the speech, in which he referred to the breakup of AT&T and Standard Oil, and the government’s years-long suit against Microsoft.

Mr. Delrahim’s comments come one week after reports that the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have divvied up responsibilities to investigate tech companies. The DOJ took Apple and Google, while the FTC got Facebook and Amazon. He didn’t say where the antitrust spotlight would shine first, but it seems unlikely that Facebook and Google will have any trouble figuring out who Mr. Delrahim meant when he noted that, “just two firms take in the lion’s share of online ad spending.”

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