Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook fight Democratic campaign to break up Big Tech

Critics cite 'flawed thinking' and harm to consumers who rely on companies' products

Silicon Valley is pushing back against a Democrat-led report that suggests dismantling Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple to ensure competition in their industries, which range from manufacturing to retail and social media.

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The findings from top lawmakers released Tuesday called for an overhaul in anti-trust laws as well as the breakup of the top four tech companies to stop them from engaging in monopolistic behavior.

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"The presumption that success can only be the result of anti-competitive behavior is simply wrong," Amazon wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

"Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, those fallacies are at the core of regulatory spit-balling on antitrust. The flawed thinking would have the primary effect of forcing millions of independent retailers out of online stores, thereby depriving these small businesses of one of the fastest and most profitable ways available to reach customers. For consumers, the result would be less choice and higher prices," the post said.

The report accuses Amazon of hoarding information and data from third-party sellers and using it to strengthen and prioritize advertising of Amazon's own products, from household items to clothing.

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Democrats have proposed that breaking up the company would result in Amazon being unable to sell its own products on its marketplace.

Lawmakers say that smaller vendors using Amazon are unable to negotiate with the e-commerce giant and are subjected to increased fees and penalties for doing business on other retail sites.

House Democrats have also said they would like to prevent Google from owning both the world’s biggest search engine and YouTube. The report details how Google outstrips search engines geared towards specific topics such as Yelp for restaurants and Expedia for travel.

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"We compete fairly in a fast-moving and highly competitive industry. We disagree with today’s reports, which feature outdated and inaccurate allegations from commercial rivals about Search and other services," Google said in a statement.

"Americans simply don’t want Congress to break Google’s products or harm the free services they use every day. The goal of antitrust law is to protect consumers, not help commercial rivals."

The report took aim at Apple's App Store, which it says ousts competitors from the marketplace for Apple device users. Lawmakers highlighted Apple's feud with tech developers, who allege “exorbitantly high" fees are taken out of an app's sales on an Apple device.

“Our company does not have a dominant market share in any category where we do business," Apple told Recode in a statement.

Last year, in the U.S. alone, the App Store facilitated $138 billion in commerce with over 85% of that amount accruing solely to third-party developers, the company said, arguing that its commission rates are in the mainstream with those of comparable platforms.

Digging into Facebook, Congress said that the company's “copy, acquire, kill” strategy was the main driver behind its acquisition of photo-sharing platform Instagram.

In a statement to Recode on Tuesday, Christopher Sgro, a spokesperson for Facebook, disagreed with the report’s conclusions.

“Facebook is an American success story," he wrote, noting that the purchases of Instagram and secure-messaging system WhatsApp were both reviewed by regulators.

"We compete with a wide variety of services with millions, even billions, of people using them," Sgro said. "Acquisitions are part of every industry, and just one way we innovate new technologies to deliver more value to people. Instagram and WhatsApp have reached new heights of success because Facebook has invested billions in those businesses."