A new report claims that a group of US state attorneys general is getting ready to launch a joint antitrust investigation of various big tech companies. The announcement comes as the major big tech companies Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have faced heavy antitrust pressure from various US federal departments over the last few months.
According to the report from The Wall Street Journal, the attorneys general could launch the investigation as soon as September and it will look into whether big companies prevent competition. The attorneys general group is likely to issue civil investigative demands which are similar to subpoenas and will allow the group to gather information from big tech companies.
In terms of size, the investigation is said to involve approximately a dozen state attorneys general with representatives from both the Republican and Democrat parties.
This pending antitrust investigation comes after the attorneys general group met with top US Department of Justice (DOJ) officials in July to discuss the lack of competition in the tech industry. Attorney General William Barr, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, and Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim, who is the head of the DOJ's antitrust division reportedly attended this July meeting.
The report adds that state and federal officials have several joint concerns which include how big tech companies use data to grow their businesses and the difficulty this causes when competitors attempt to enter their markets. Additionally, the report says that state and federal officials may formally join forces to investigate big tech.
The DOJ launched a broad antitrust probe of big tech companies last month which is focusing on whether these companies have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers.
News of this pending investigation from this group of attorneys general also comes days after the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Joseph Simons said he’s fully willing to break up big tech.