Google, Amazon shares fall after news of antitrust scrutiny

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Amazon and Google shares fell Monday morning after news broke over the weekend that regulators had laid the groundwork for potential antitrust investigations into the two internet giants.

Shares for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, were down around 6 percent after the markets opened Monday morning. Amazon stock was down nearly 4 percent.

{mosads}Multiple media outlets reported over the weekend that the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had agreed to divide antitrust oversight of the two companies — a move that signals that the government is serious about looking into the competition concerns swirling around the firms.

It’s unclear whether either agency is actually planning to launch an investigation or even what issues would be of concern. But both Amazon and Google have been subject to increasing scrutiny over their market power and its effect on competition.

Google has been subject to three major antitrust fines totaling about $9 billion from European Union authorities in recent years for its search, advertising and bundling practices.

And the EU’s top competition regulator has also hinted at a potential antitrust inquiry into questions about whether Amazon has used its control over its marketplace to hurt third-party vendors and tip the scales in its favor.

A growing movement of tech critics in the U.S. has been pushing regulators to take a similarly tough stance on Silicon Valley. In 2013, the FTC closed an antitrust investigation into Google after the company agreed to change some of its business practices that had raised anti-competition concerns.

But in recent years, worries about the tech behemoths have grown and become a top political flashpoint.

“Google has too much power, and they’re using that power to hurt small businesses, stifle innovation, and tilt the playing field against everyone else,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a presidential candidate who has proposed breaking up Silicon Valley’s biggest companies. “It’s time to fight back.”

Tags Amazon Department of Justice Elizabeth Warren Federal Trade Commission Google
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