US Department of Justice opens online platform antitrust investigation

Out-Law News | 25 Jul 2019 | 4:53 pm |

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a wide-ranging antitrust review into some of the world's biggest technology companies which offer search, social media and some retail services online.

The investigation will focus on growing complaints from consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs that these businesses are unlawfully stifling competition and innovation, according to an announcement by the DoJ.

"Without the discipline of meaningful market-based competition, digital platforms may act in ways that are not responsive to consumer demands," said Makan Delrahim, an assistant attorney general at the DoJ's antitrust division. "The department's antitrust review will explore these important issues."

The review will examine whether and how market-leading online platforms, which are not named in the statement, have achieved market power. It will also consider whether they have engaged in "practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation or otherwise harmed consumers".

The DOJ's antitrust division will consult the public, including other industry participants, as part of its review, it said.