Mon. Jan 25th, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Biden administration should expand Alphabet’s antitrust cases against Google and Facebook and encourage companies to break up, according to a group whose founders are working with the presidential-election transition team.

The Washington-based anti-monopoly American Economic Liberties Project released a report in the next administration with the guidance of antitrust enforcers. The group is led by Sarah Miller, who is working with President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition team and has been instrumental in making antitrust enforcement a mainstream issue against Big Tech.

The report’s recommendations offer a glimpse into the thinking that may affect future policy making under the Biden administration.

The group urged that the US Department of Justice make it clear that it would continue antitrust action against Google by expanding the scope of searches, maps, travel and litigation beyond its App Store.

The Justice Department sued Google on October 20, accusing the $ 20 trillion company of searching and advertising. In December, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Facebook, saying the company used a “buy or bury” strategy to hurt rivals.

The report called for the Biden administration to appoint an aggressive Department of Justice and FTC counterpart enforcer, and committed Biden’s Attorney General Nominee Merrick Garland to “publicly demand a Google breakup.”

“The anti-monopoly movement is really young … We wanted to take a view that people in a new administration can rally around and not only use that as a clear roadmap for the possible, but it is necessary , “Miller told Reuters.

Proponents of this approach want antitrust enforcement to deviate from the prevailing standard that only looks at whether consumers are benefiting from lower prices.

The report encourages antitrust agencies to challenge mergers involving a powerful buyer and to prevent regulators from entering into settlements with companies that require them to do no wrongdoing is.

Among other recommendations it seeks to do away with the non-compete clause in the system of work and eliminates conflicts of interest by preventing companies from operating and competing on the same platform. For example, Amazon.com Inc. operates a third-party, vendor-driven market where it also competes.

The report also urges the FTC to prioritize bringing a no-confidence motion against Amazon to hurt competitors.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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