La Federal Trade Commission (or FTC, the US competition agency) announced the launch of investigative procedures against Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google (as well as the parent company Alphabet) e Microsoft. The antitrust agency requested companies to provide information regarding some recent acquisitions that would not have been disclosed under the law Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR).
The HSR is a series of amendments to the American antitrust laws passed in 1976. They provide that in the event of acquisitions, companies will collaborate closely with the FTC and with the ministry of justice. But not all acquisitions fall under these regulations. The FTC has submitted this request to ascertain the nature of the operations carried out by these companies between 2010 and 2019.
The FTC points out that the operation does not currently imply any violation of the laws by large internet companies. The agency would simply be trying to understand how these operate in contexts of large acquisitions. Specifically, the FTC wants to understand how these companies communicate mergers and acquisitions and if indeed these operations do not fall under the HSR. In addition, the survey also wants to shed light on how smaller companies behave economically after the giants of the web have incorporated them.
Obviously it is easy to imagine that the FTC could take measures if it found irregularities in the information provided, but to have news in this sense it will take some time.