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US House tech antitrust report anticipated in coming weeks

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US House tech antitrust report anticipated in coming weeks

With members of Congress returning from recess, tech investors and analysts will be looking for a U.S. House antitrust subcommittee to release its highly anticipated report on competition in digital markets.

The subcommittee has been engaged in a bipartisan investigation since June 2019. The committee has said the point of its investigation is to document competition problems online and to assess whether the current antitrust laws and enforcement levels are adequate.

When asked about the timing of a report in late July, senior committee aides noted that the chairman of the subcommittee leading the investigation, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., has said he wants to get a report out by the end of summer or early fall, but cautioned that it was "a fluid timeline."

A spokesperson for the committee did not respond to a request for comment on Sept. 4 regarding the timing of a report.

In addition to possible recommendations for legislative reform, the committee's report could also be used as evidence against the companies in court, Avery Gardiner, who has served in the Antitrust Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, previously told S&P Global Market Intelligence.

As part of the investigation, the top executives from Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC all testified in a hearing before the subcommittee in July. The executives portrayed their companies as assets to American leadership in technology and innovation in testimony to Congress.

The Justice Department also has a separate ongoing investigation into the market power of online platforms.

The New York Times reported on Sept. 3 that DOJ plans to bring an antitrust case against Google as soon as this month. DOJ's investigation has looked into Google's "control over many aspects of the ecosystem for online advertising" and dominance in search, the report claimed.

While a coalition of 50 states and territories support antitrust action against Google, state attorneys general are split on the timing of moving forward with investigations, largely along partisan lines, according to the report.

Facebook is currently subject to an antitrust probe from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and a separate investigation from a group of state attorneys general.

Industry, legal and think tank events
Sept. 8-10 NEDAS, an industry-led association committed to improving communications infrastructure, will host a virtual symposium.
Sept. 9 The Center for Democracy and Technology will host a virtual conversation with Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Democratic FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks regarding President Donald Trump's social media executive order.
Sept. 9 USTelecom will host a webinar on illegal robocalls with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.
Sept. 9-10 The Information, a digital media company, will host a virtual summit featuring women from the tech, media and finance industries.
Sept. 10 The Brookings Institution will host an online event titled "Advancing the transatlantic dialogue in the aftermath of Schrems II."
Sept. 10 The Wall Street Journal will host an event titled "The Future of Social Media."

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