The review seems comprehensive and can cover behavior from several companies. Washington politicians have increasingly focused on competing anti-competitive behaviors Amazon ( AMZN ) Apple ( AAPL ) Facebook ( FB ) and Google ( GOOG ) ; While these companies were not named by the Ministry of Justice on Tuesday, the agency indicated that it would look more closely at areas where these companies are dominant players.
"The department's review will consider the extensive concerns expressed by consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs about search, social media and some online retail services," DOJ said in a press release Tuesday afternoon. "The Institute's antitrust division is conferring with and seeking information from the public, including industry participants who have direct insight into competition in online platforms as well as others."
DOJ and the Federal Trade Commission had previously negotiated to divide the Authority's jurisdiction over the technology industry, with Justice assuming responsibility for Google. But the new, wider probe is separate from a potential Google-specific investigation, according to the Wall Street Journal, which was the first to report the review.
Amazon and Apple did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook declined to comment, and Google also refused to comment, but referred CNN to diploma companies delivered before Congress last week.
The DOJ announcement follows a week of congressional hearings that were bruises to the technical industry. Lawyers narrowed Facebook over their attempts to enter the financial sector with a new digital currency, Vågen. Amazon faced tough questions about the relationship with third-party sellers on its own platform, and Google over false listings on Google Maps.
Rep. On Tuesday, David Cicilline, a New Jersey democrat who heads the house judge's antitrust panel, criticized the three companies in a letter to their leaders, accusing the companies of giving "elusive" testimony and demanding further answers. Ciciline leads what he has described as a "top-to-bottom" survey of the tech platforms.
The DOJ announcement also comes as Facebook braces for a bill of billions of dollars from the Federal Trade Commission, prompted by a survey of a number of social media giant privacy accidents during and after the 201
The announcement also signals that a deeper look at the technology industry is backed by State Attorney William Barr, who has expressed concern for Silicon Valley.
"I don't think much is necessarily bad, but I think many people wonder how so big behemoths that now exist in Silicon Valley have taken shape under the nose of the antitrust persecutors," Barr said during his confirmation question. "And you know, you can win that place on the market without breaking the antitrust laws, but I want to find out more about that dynamism."
Despite the growing challenges facing technology companies in Washington, long-term analysts said the risk to major players remained unclear.
"We ultimately believe that this is more noisy versus the start of wider structural changes in the technical food chain, and is likely to lead to business model settings and potential DOJ / FTC fines in the worst case scenario rather than compulsory breaches of the underlying businesses," According to a research note sent to investors on Tuesday by the market research firm Wedbush Securities.