From Reuters’ “FTC demands data on small buys by Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft,” posted Tuesday AM:
The Federal Trade Commission has issued special orders to Alphabet Inc’s Google unit, Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Microsoft Corp to provide information on mergers that were too small to report to antitrust regulators, the FTC said on Tuesday.
The queries occur as the Justice Department, the FTC, state attorneys general and the House Judiciary Committee are investigating the big tech platforms for potential anti-competitive behavior. They are accused of unfairly using their clout to defend market share or expand into adjacent markets.
Much of the criticism has focused on massive deals such as Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram and Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods, but the companies also have spent billions on smaller companies, dramatically changing the competitive landscape in emerging tech sectors…
With the exception of its $3 billion purchase of headphone and streaming company Beats in 2014, Apple has mostly made small deals valued at less than $500 million over the past decade, snapping up small companies working on key technologies such as augmented reality displays, camera sensors and artificial intelligence software.
My take: Toward new theory of antitrust—giant mergers good, tiny acquisitions bad.