According to the Wall Street Journal this afternoon, the Justice Department is opening a broad antitrust review into whether dominant technology firms are unlawfully stifling competition.
“The new antitrust inquiry is the strongest signal yet of Attorney General William Barr’s deep interest in the tech sector, and it could ratchet up the already considerable regulatory pressures facing the top U.S. tech firms. The review is designed to go above and beyond recent plans for scrutinizing the tech sector that were crafted by the department and the Federal Trade Commission,” the Journal reported.
These companies could now face antitrust claims from both the Federal Trade Commission, which just socked Facebook with a $5 billion fine, and the Justice Department.
The Justice Department inquiry is likely to be very open ended with the parameters not limited to any cited act or practice that violates antitrust laws or even to antitrust compliance in general. Any violations of any laws are on the table in the inquiry, the Journal says.