Friday, December 8, 2023

US orders Facebook, Amazon and others to reveal details of years of acquisitions

A close-up image showing the Facebook app on an iPhone in Kaarst, Germany, 08 November 2017 (reissued 24 April 2019). Facebook is to release their 1st quarter 2019 results on 24 April 2019.

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The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced it has ordered Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple and Facebook to provide detailed information on their acquisitions of smaller companies from 2010 to 2019.
The move comes after dozens of states launched antitrust investigations into tech companies in September, focusing on whether Facebook’s dominance in the digital space has unfairly restrained competition. Google’s digital advertising impact was also a probe subject. Some said the FTC is not doing enough to hold big tech accountable.
Large acquisitions, such as Facebook’s 2012 purchase of Instagram must be approved by the FTC, who explained the focus on small deals will help it understand “whether large tech companies are making potentially anticompetitive acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors”.
The initiative “will enable the Commission to take a closer look at acquisitions in this important sector, and also to evaluate whether the federal agencies are getting adequate notice of transactions that might harm competition”, the agency said.
“Justice department also has a poor record fighting against mergers from the digital industry. The last thing Americans need now is to allow the justice department to become the ‘super’ agency addressing the surveillance economy”, an expert warned.
Facebook, Google and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Amazon declined to comment on the investigation. A Microsoft spokesperson said: “We look forward to working with the FTC to answer their questions”.

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