2018-11-07 18:18:431 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST
By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Amazon logo on mobile phone (Image source: Public domain)
In the waning days of campaigning for the midterm elections that didn't go 100 percent Donald Trump's way, it seems he should have had other things on his mind. Instead, he said in an interview that aired on HBO on Sunday that he's considering going after Amazon, Facebook, and Google with regards to violations of antitrust law.
He's had a beef with Amazon for some time, as chief executive Jeff Bezos also owns The Washington Post, the news outlet the president considers to be "fake news" because of their coverage of him.
Trump didn't just single out Amazon, though. "I am in charge," he said in the interview with Axios. "I am definitely in charge, and we are certainly looking at it." When asked to clarify which companies he's going after, he said, "all three," with no doubts left as to who he was referring.
The government has been considering antitrust violations against the three tech companies for months. He said in the interview that former President Barack Obama's administration had considered the same thing.
However, the Federal Trade Commission investigated Google at the time over its method of displaying search results and found there was no antitrust violation. But Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) would like the FTC to consider investigating once again.
The Justice Department held a meeting with state attorneys general in September for the purpose of discussing if anything the companies did could have violated antitrust law. State officials have picked up the discussion, meaning there could be a multi-state probe ahead.
Makan Delrahim, the antitrust head at the Justice Department has considered whether there is enough money behind this to show that the tech companies are harming competition or innovation. The FTC did hold hearings recently, but experts can't agree on whether there is an antitrust problem at play.
The European Union beat the U.S. to the punch, however. Recently, their antritrust officials hit Google with a $5 billion fine for marketing its apps in an anti-competitive fashion.
This led Google to announce it would no longer bundle its apps together on Android phones that are sold in the EU. If phone manufacturers using the Android platform want the apps, they'll have to pay, which will increase the cost of the handsets.
The EU has targeted Apple as well for allegedly evading taxes and Facebook for giving "misleading" information about its deal to buy WhatsApp.
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