Goodwin Insights January 07, 2019

Antitrust Agencies Vow to Keep a Watchful Eye on “Big Tech Platforms”

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s Amex decision (more on that decision below), at a recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, FTC Chairman Joseph Simons testified that anticompetitive behavior and conduct by online platforms, or “big tech platforms,” continues to be a priority for the FTC as they look for antitrust violations “where there’s likely to be potential significant market power.” In that same hearing, the DOJ’s top enforcer, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, testified that the Antitrust Division continues to study competitive issues related to technology platforms.

Given the growing public interest in “big tech,” law makers will likely continue to pressure “big tech platforms” and call upon the antitrust agencies to monitor potential antitrust violations. For example, Google, which was hit with a $5 billion fine by European antitrust enforcers, recently faced questions by the US House Judiciary Committee scrutinizing various business practices.

Our clients with strong market positions in online platforms must be vigilant, and should be careful to consider the potential antitrust exposure in all facets of their business dealings as it will be a key focus of antitrust enforcers and particularly interested members of Congress.