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FTC to Investigate Major Tech Corporations

How many people do you know who do not trust the work major corporations in the US? An article published in Politico called “Regulators demand info on past deals by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft” written by Leah Nylen talks about how the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) wants to investigate major corporations such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. The FTC is calling for this investigation because of anti-trust laws, which is preventing corporations from having monopolies on the markets which lessen competition between companies. These efforts have been praised by Democrat senators in Congress, most notably House Judiciary antitrust committee Chairman, David Cicilline who believes this will undo decades of sitting around by those who were supposed to enforce antitrust laws. 

Additionally, this article mentions how FTC Competition Chief Ian Conner has stated that the investigations will require these companies to “share [their] data or rewrite [their] contracts to make it easier for customers to switch to a competitor” (Nylen). In other words, this would create competition in the market in industries such as the tech industry for consumers. The focus of these investigations is to examine “killer acquisitions,” which are mergers of smaller companies into these larger corporations. For example, Nylen states how 75% of Google’s acquisition deals were with companies who had fewer than 18 employees. As good as this may sound, people do not believe the call for these investigations will make a big difference, because the results would only be published in the form of a study. Additionally, others do not believe that the FTC will actually be able to investigate these mergers that occur in Silicon Valley. 

This relates to the course content because in order to exhibit proper corporate citizenship, companies need to behave ethically for reasons such as this where they can run into problems with the law. Companies should not be having a monopoly on products because it can cause ethical problems to arise because these companies are only concerned about profit, not realizing they are limiting the option of products to consumers. Additionally, the Iron Law of Responsibility comes into play because if these corporations are using their power to have a monopoly on products then they could end up losing it as a result of government intervention such as antitrust funds. I personally would argue that corporations should have freedom to an extent, however in cases like this where they could easily limit the options of consumers by holding monopolies on goods, they should be under government restrictions. Small businesses disappear when corporations take control of them, and this eliminates various small businesses. That is why I think the FTC wanting details of the mergers in these corporations is justified, and necessary to ensure that all companies have an equal playing field in the world. 

Keval Sojitara, February 20, 2020.

Source: Nylen, Leah. “Regulators Demand Info on Past Deals by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.” POLITICO, 2020, www.politico.com/news/2020/02/11/regulators-demand-info-deals-amazon-apple-facebook-google-microsoft-113988.


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