Feb 11, 2020 - Technology

FTC reviewing a decade of Big Tech acquisitions

Statue outside FTC headquarters in Washington. Photo: Chris Maddaloni/Roll Call/Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday it is investigating acquisitions made by Amazon, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Alphabet/Google from 2010 on.

Why it matters: As pressure mounts to regulate Big Tech companies as monopolies, the FTC is one of two arms of the federal government empowered to enforce antitrust law, along with the Justice Department.

Driving the news: The FTC is examining prior acquisitions that were not previously reported to antitrust authorities to learn whether large tech companies are buying up small potential competitors in an anticompetitive manner, the agency said in a release.

  • “This 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," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. “This will help us continue to keep tech markets open and competitive, for the benefit of consumers.
  • The FTC is conducting the inquiry using its Section 6(b) power, which allows the agency to seek business information for a wide-ranging study that is not part of a specific law enforcement investigation.
  • But, in a call with reporters, Simons wouldn't rule out the study ultimately leading to enforcement action. He said all options are on the table, including unwinding acquisitions that the agency finds to be anticompetitive.

Go deeper

The latest: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The latest: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo told CNN on the president's quasi-offer: "Thank you but no thank you," and accused Trump of "calling out the American military for a photo opportunity."

36 mins ago - World

The world watches America burn

Newspaper front pages via the Newseum

The world is watching the grief and anger, violence and pain in America's streets.

The big picture: The U.S. accounts for nearly one-third of the world's deaths from COVID-19. The killing of a black man, George Floyd, by police has sparked days of protest and nights of chaos in America's major cities.

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.