FTC to Review Past Big Tech Mergers, Demands Info from Apple, Facebook, Amazon

U.S. regulators announced Tuesday that they are demanding information about past mergers from Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google parent company Alphabet as part of an investigation into whether the tech giants broke federal antitrust laws.

The Federal Trade Commission will probe mergers made by the five mammoth tech companies over the last decade, particularly their acquisitions of smaller startups. Some of those deals were small enough that the tech giants were not required to report them at the time to the FTC for scrutiny regarding competition concerns.

Regulators have now issued investigative subpoenas requesting documents on the acquisition strategies employed by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet to absorb startups and their accompanying data that could potentially compete with them. The broad probe is a type of investigation called a 6(b) inquiry, the results of which are published in a study rather than resulting in law enforcement action necessarily.

“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,” read a statement from FTC Chairman Joe Simons.

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