The rise of big tech companies that supposedly suppress competition has become a political issue for governments in Europe and China.
The incoming administration of US President-elect Joe Biden plans to create a White House post focused on competition policy and antitrust issues, two sources familiar with the internal deliberations told Reuters .
The idea remains under study and the White House Biden may not ultimately take the plunge, one of the sources told Reuters.
“It remains to be seen whether this will be more of a coordinating role or whether that person will actually sit in the White House,” another source said. The role could focus on moving information between agencies and coordinating, the source added.
Antitrust enforcement has become an issue that Biden’s transition team is closely monitoring, especially with the rise of large tech platforms, which provide free or inexpensive services to consumers while under suspicion. to break the law to crush smaller rivals.
A spokesperson for the transition did not immediately comment on the matter to Reuters.
Big Tech Probes
Reuters reported on Saturday that two former Obama administration officials had pioneered Biden for the high-level anti-trust post at the Justice Department.
The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which share the anti-competitive work, have investigated Alphabet’s Big Tech, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple platforms. The Department of Justice has sued Google and the FTC has sued Facebook as investigations into Amazon and Apple are ongoing.
Regulators around the world are taking a harder line against Big Techs.
Last month, the European Union unveiled tough new rules under which U.S. tech platforms and other major tech platforms that treat their own services more favorably, to the detriment of their rivals, could be forced to sell businesses and pay fines of a billion dollars.
Under the new European digital markets law, companies considered to be ‘gatekeepers’ will not be allowed to rank their offers above those of their competitors on their own platforms, nor to use their data. competitors to compete with them.
Shift the debate
Margrethe Vestager is the spearhead of the European Commission’s antitrust efforts. Speaking on the US antitrust crackdown last month, Vestager said: “This is a sign that the debate over technological dominance has evolved over the past two years.
In China, authorities plan to push tech giants including Ant Group, Tencent and JD.com to share consumer lending data to prevent excessive borrowing and fraud, Reuters reported earlier this month. here, citing two people familiar with the subject.
The plan, if implemented, would effectively end the government’s laissez-faire approach to industry and is another sign of attempts to contain the country’s tech champions.
The plan comes on top of recent proposals to step up the scrutiny of tech champions and harness their growing empires, primarily in the financial sector. The change contributed to the dramatic collapse of fintech giant Ant’s planned initial public offering of $ 37 billion in November.
Since then, regulators have launched an antitrust investigation into Ant’s former parent company, Alibaba, and ordered the fintech company to shake up its credit and consumer finance business.