Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google could be forced to overhaul their business practices under an expansive set of antitrust reforms introduced by a bipartisan group of House lawmakers today.
The measures come in the wake of a lengthy investigation by the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust into the four companies that was completed last year.
The bills will need to be voted on favorably by the Judiciary Committee before making their way to the full House. They would also need to be approved by the Senate before they could be signed into law by the president. In short the effort has a long way to go.
The Sherman Act has antimonopoly provisions. It has largely been ignored for many years.
A growling sense of alarm over the antitrust laws not being enforced are making more and more cynical comments in the media. Breaking up the corporate giants would go far towards making competition more important.
For Facebook to buy Instagram was an example of what is wrong. Instagram was doing fine as an independent company. Other transactions are also just as dismal.
Semiconductors are a special case where the cost of factories has risen to stratospheric levels. Intel recently spent $10 billion for their Arizona factory to modernize it. Shortgages in products have motivated significant capital expenditures.