A US House of Representatives panel on Friday demanded internal emails, detailed financial information and other company records from top executives of Amazon.com, Facebook, Apple, and Alphabet’s Google, widening the antitrust probe of Big Tech. The letters seek by October 14 internal emails over the last decade from Apple CEO Tim Cook, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet CEO Larry Page, among others, about acquisitions.
Apple shares fell about 1.8 percent after the market opened. While Apple had been mentioned as a potential target, the House letter offered the first concrete evidence of a wide-ranging antitrust investigation. Apple has faced criticism that its App Store’s policies and algorithms support its own products and stifle third-party applications.
On Monday, the Texas attorney general led a group of 50 attorneys general from US states and territories in a probe of whether Google abuses its market power in advertising.
“There is growing evidence that a handful of corporations have come to capture an outsized share of online commerce and communications,” said House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat, who signed the letters along with Ranking Republican Representative Doug Collins and Representative David Cicilline, who chairs the antitrust subcommittee and ranking Republican Jim Sensenbrenner.
“This information is key in helping determine whether anticompetitive behaviour is occurring, whether our antitrust enforcement agencies should investigate specific issues and whether or not our antitrust laws need improvement to better promote competition in the digital markets,” Collins said in a statement.
The lawmakers seek emails from senior executives on topics including acquisitions like Amazon’s purchase of AbeBooks, PillPack, Eero, Ring, Zappos and Whole Foods; and Google’s acquisition of AdMob, YouTube, Android and DoubleClick.
They also seek information on various policies including Google’s decision to automatically sign into Chrome any user to logs into any Google service.