Top tech giants may soon be under an antitrust investigation by federal authorities in the US, according to a new report. A bipartisan group from more than 20 states in the US is looking into the matter and is soon expected to launch a probe that investigates how tech companies have indulged in practices that monopolize the market and hurt the competition.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the states are likely to issue formal civil investigation notices, which are similar to subpoenas to tech companies and their affiliated companies. The investigation will accompany a similar matter already under the Justice Department of the US government, focusing on Google's Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc.
Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are expected to be the center point of the two investigations. The companies are yet to issue any comment on the matter.
These companies have been investigated not only in the US, but also in the European Union for such practices. The boom of these tech giants have steadily either bought out or pushed out of business most of the competition and they are seen to be the biggest, if not the only players in markets comprising millions and sometimes billions of consumers.
The Federal Trade Commission has also become a barrier in Facebook's attempts at merging its social network and the instant messaging app, WhatsApp. It considers that if the two companies are merged together, they will stymie the competition.
The investigation, if detailed, is expected to last years, given the size of these tech giants,but it seems that it will take off soon. North Carolina Attorney Josh Stein told the Wall Street Journal that he was "participating in bipartisan conversations on the issue."
The investigation may also increase the cost of doing business for these tech giants. If state and federal investigative agencies join forces and the investigation becomes a joint one, it may have far-reaching consequences on how these companies function.