"Right now we're seeing a lot of concern that tech companies have just gotten too big, that they control too much of what they do, that they're stomping on rivals and that they're making it so that consumers only have one choice. Those are the concerns that we're hearing right now, and as they get bigger the Congress has decided to investigate whether they're getting too large and the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission are starting to divvy up which companies they potentially should be looking at."
San Jose, California 3 June 2019
2. Apple Senior Vice President Craig Federighi on stage with screen showing iOS app icons at developers' conference
"The big companies that are going to be looked at are Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple. And they're looking at those because they've just gotten really huge and they control a lot of the technology in their own markets."
San Jose, California - 30 April 2019
5. Mark Zuckerberg steps onto stage at F8 Conference
6. Zuckerberg with screen showing Facebook Messenger
"No, the companies aren't commenting right now on what they think ... Companies in the past have strongly defended that they are not monopolies, that they are protecting consumer choice and that they're delivering good products for people, so they don't believe that antitrust - any sort of antitrust enforcement is necessary."
Mountain View, California - 7 May 2019
8. Google CEO Sundar Pichai on stage at Google I/O conference
9. Google logo on large screen
10. Pichai on stage with screen showing Google privacy settings on phone
"Now if this is something that gets dragged out for years and ends up in lawsuits and potentially breaking up or even larger fines then the financial impact could be quite significant. But we're still pretty far away from that."
Sacramento, California - 9 February 2018
12. Archive of Amazon sign at fulfillment center
13. Archive of bins moving on conveyer belt at fulfillment center
14. Archive of various of boxes moving on conveyer belt at Amazon fulfillment center
"Eventually if the If we get to a point where the Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission decides to actually break up these companies, which is a pretty significant decision, then consumers might see the way that they use products change."
The federal government may be warming up its antitrust enforcement machine and pointing it at Big Tech.
On Monday, the House Judiciary Committee announced a sweeping antitrust probe of unspecified technology companies. In a statement, it promised "a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms," which would be the first such Congress has ever undertaken.
Shares of Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple dropped significantly Monday after published reports suggested that federal authorities are preparing for investigations into anticompetitive behavior by several of these technology giants.
Some of the underlying developments appear to represent a divvying up of turf between the Department of Justice's antitrust cops and the Federal Trade Commission, which also holds antitrust authority. The Justice Department would reportedly hold authority over Google and Apple, while the FTC would take point on investigations of Facebook and Amazon.
Over the weekend, multiple reports said the Justice Department was preparing a competition investigation into Google. On Monday, the Wall Street Journal cited unnamed sources to report that the FTC has secured the rights to bring a possible investigation into Facebook.
Investors may have reacted immediately to the uncertainty, but investigations — if any materialize — would take years.
Pressure has been mounting on government to scrutinize the companies for some time, as backlash against tech companies' reach and power grow in among consumers and politicians.
European authorities have covered ground U.S. regulators have barely considered — resulting in billions of dollars in fines for Google, and lesser fines for other companies.
The FTC is already investigating Facebook for possible privacy violations. The FTC declined to comment, and Facebook did not immediately respond to a message for comment. Facebook has set aside $3 billion for a possible fine for that investigation and said it could be as high as $5 billion.
Technology , Antitrust regulation , Industry regulation , Government business and finance , Business , Government business and finance , Government and politics , Industry regulation , Government regulations , Legislature , Social media , Online media , Media , Consumer product manufacturing , Consumer products and services , Monopoly and antitrust , Corporate news
Mark Zuckerberg , Sundar Pichai
United States Congress, United States government, Federal Trade Commission