The case against Amazon: Key takeaways from the U.S. House antitrust report on digital markets

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and the report this week from the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee. (GeekWire Photo Illustration)

Coming in at 451 pages, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee antitrust subcommittee’s report this week on competition in digital markets is a comprehensive summary of the ways in which Apple, Facebook, Google and Amazon capitalize on and allegedly abuse their market power to benefit themselves.

Amazon is mentioned by name 1,866 times in the report, almost twice as many times as Facebook, and second only to Google at 1,964 mentions.

The report dedicates an 83-page section to the Seattle-based e-commerce giant, informed by internal company emails, extensive market research, interviews with third-party retailers, submissions from industry groups, and testimony including the widely followed hearing this summer with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and others.

PREVIOUSLY: Antitrust report says Amazon has ‘monopoly power’ over sellers, company slams ‘fringe’ findings

But if you’re

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Amazon’s Blink Indoor is a decent, battery-powered security camera for inside your house

This new, $80 Blink Indoor camera system is the indoor counterpart to Blink’s new weatherproof outdoor camera. It shares a similar design with the outdoor model, minus the weather-resistant housing, as well as the same set up, features and performance. That makes it a fine option, particularly if you want the mobility of a battery-powered indoor camera. But the Amazon company’s decision to ditch its excellent free cloud storage plan for the new Blink Subscription Plan is disappointing. 

Like

  • The $80 one-camera kit is pretty affordable.

Don’t Like

  • Blink now charges for cloud video storage.

I’m an advocate for free cloud storage in general, despite many companies (like Nest and Ring) never offering it, but it’s even worse when a company offers it and then gets rid of it later. 

As I mentioned in the Blink Outdoor review, Blink is offering a free trial of its cloud

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House report is sharply critical of Treasury’s handling of payroll program

Ultimately, the subcommittee concluded that instead of preserving jobs, the Trump administration’s implementation of the Payroll Support Program “significantly weakened the Program’s impact on job preservation.”

The subcommittee’s assessment comes in stark contrast to how the program has played out for passenger airlines, which received the bulk of the more than $25 billion that was allocated to pay front-line workers. Airline and union leaders say the program saved tens of thousands of jobs until it expired Oct. 1 and have been aggressively pushing to extend it through the end of March.

“The Payroll Support Program has supported hundreds of thousands of aviation industry jobs, kept workers employed and connected to their healthcare, and played a critical role in preserving the U.S. airline industry,” the Treasury Department said in a statement. “Implementation focused first on the largest employers to help stabilize an industry in crisis and support as many jobs as

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The bipartisan House task force on America’s future defense is path-breaking

Late last month, a bipartisan congressional task force issued a timely report that, apart from purely security-oriented outlets, received far less media coverage than it deserved. Congressional bipartisanship has become virtually an oxymoron in the current political climate. Nevertheless, Republicans and Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee Task Force on the Future of Defense were able to come together to produce a serious, thought-provoking essay that focuses on implementing a defense strategy that is responsive to the threats that will confront America far into the future, indeed as far as the end of this century.

Many of the task force’s proposals have been outlined in previous studies and in congressional testimony. They include a greater focus on funding and developing advanced technologies and incorporating them into military systems and structures; concluding a new arms control agreement with Russia; and controlling the leakage of technology by expanding the Committee on

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U.S. House Antitrust Chairman Calls Unwinding Facebook’s Instagram Buy ‘The Right Answer’ | Technology News

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative David Cicilline, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee, said on Wednesday he would be “comfortable with unwinding” Facebook Inc’s acquisition of Instagram.

The antitrust subcommittee on Tuesday released a report on Big Tech’s abuses of market power but stopped short of naming specific companies or acquisitions that must be broken up.

Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island, told Reuters in an interview that Facebook should not have been allowed to buy Instagram, a deal that the Federal Trade Commission approved in 2012.

“I would be comfortable with unwinding that. I think that’s the right answer,” he said.

Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It has said previously that Instagram was insignificant at the time it was purchased and that Facebook built it into the success it has become.

Any effort to unwind the deal would entail the government

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House anti-trust chair says breaking up Facebook-Instagram would be right move

Following the 349-page report by the U.S. House of Representatives’ subcommittee on anti-trust, released yesterday afternoon, the chair of the committee, Democratic rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, on Wednesday said he thinks it would be a good idea ot separate Instagram from Facebook, according to Reuters. 

Cicilline told Reuters in an interview today that “Facebook should not have been allowed to buy Instagram,” according to the account by Reuters staff. 

 “I would be comfortable with unwinding that. I think that’s the right answer,” Cicilline told the news service, referring to Facebook’s purchase of Instagram for $737 million in 2012.

In the report issued Tuesday, Cicilline and staff said that buying Instagram was part of Facebook’s removal of competition in the social networking market. Facebook has become so dominant that the only real competition is between Facebook and its own properties, including Instagram, said the committee.

“Facebook has tipped the

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The White House Announces Quantum.Gov and Quantum Frontiers Report

Oct. 7, 2020 — The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) has announced the launch of Quantum.gov, the official website of the National Quantum Coordination Office, and the release of the Quantum Frontiers Report identifying key areas for continued quantum information science (QIS) research.

“With the launch of Quantum.gov, the White House has created an online home for the National Quantum Coordination Office and a new digital hub for the growing quantum community to connect with wide-ranging activities underway across the Federal Government. The newly published Quantum Frontiers Report lays out critical research questions for the entire U.S. innovation ecosystem to tackle in the years ahead, and will serve as an important roadmap for researchers around the country,” said Michael Kratsios, U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

Quantum.gov will feature resources and news on QIS activities from across the Federal government, geared towards both the research community and the

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House antitrust report: Amazon uses seller data to copy products

  • Amazon uses third-party seller data to copy the site’s most popular products, an antitrust report by the House Judiciary Committee alleged on Wednesday.
  • Former Amazon sellers told an antitrust subcommittee the company released new products almost identical to their own and “killed” their sales.
  • Amazon has denied accusations of this behavior in the past.
  • “We have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private-label business,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in July.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee said it has uncovered evidence that Amazon uses detailed data from third-party sellers to copy popular products and push some sellers out of business — something the tech giant has consistently denied. 

The subcommittee said it had heard “repeated” concerns from both former employees and third-party sellers that Amazon uses seller data to either copy products or source the product directly from the manufacturer.

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Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon abused monopoly power, House report says

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The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee released its report after investigating Big Tech.


Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Lawmakers from the US House of Representatives accused Facebook, Amazon, Google and Apple of “abuses of monopoly power” in a 449-page report released Tuesday. The House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee drew its conclusions after a 16-month investigation that culminated in an hours-long hearing with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai in July that featured tense exchanges portending a more critical view of Big Tech.

The report calls for restructuring and several other changes to rein in the companies. One recommendation tries to make it tougher for tech giants to buy up smaller companies that consolidates the industry. A “nondiscrimination requirements” suggestion aims to stop platforms from prioritizing their own products over those of rivals. The subcommittee also calls for the strengthening of antitrust laws and enforcement. 

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House space subcommittee chair still seeking NASA plan for 2024 lunar landing

WASHINGTON — The chair of the House space subcommittee says NASA has still not convinced her that the agency has a viable plan to return humans to the moon by 2024.

Speaking at a Wilson Center event Oct. 6 about the geopolitics of space, Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) said she was waiting to see a plan from NASA that explained how the agency’s Artemis program could meet its goal of a human return to the lunar surface in four years.

“We still haven’t seen a plan that shows us we can get to the moon on the 2024 schedule,” she said, including the ability of NASA to manage “multiple, simultaneous, large” development programs and the various demonstrations leading up to that crewed landing.

Such a plan was an element of a NASA authorization bill that she introduced in January with other leaders of the House Science Committee from both parties.

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