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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

UN poll: Most see climate change as global emergency during pandemic

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (C) fronts a Fridays For Future protest at the Swedish Parliament in Stockholm in September. Photo: Jonathan Nacksrtrand/AFP via Getty Images

64% of people from around the world say climate change is a global emergency, a United Nations poll published Wednesday finds.

Why it matters: It's the biggest global survey on climate change ever conducted, with some 1.2 million participants from 50 countries — including the U.S., where 65% of those surveyed view climate change as an emergency.

Collins helps contractor before pro-Susan PAC gets donation

Sen. Susan Collins during her reelection campaign. Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

A PAC backing Sen. Susan Collins in her high-stakes reelection campaign received $150,000 from an entity linked to the wife of a defense contractor whose firm Collins helped land a federal contract, new public records show.

Why it matters: The executive, Martin Kao of Honolulu, leaned heavily on his political connections to boost his business, federal prosecutors say in an ongoing criminal case against him. The donation linked to Kao was veiled until last week.

How cutting GOP corporate cash could backfire

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Companies pulling back on political donations, particularly to members of Congress who voted against certifying President Biden's election win, could inadvertently push Republicans to embrace their party's rightward fringe.

Why it matters: Scores of corporate PACs have paused, scaled back or entirely abandoned their political giving programs. While designed to distance those companies from events that coincided with this month's deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol, research suggests the moves could actually empower the far-right.

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