The FTC is looking into past acquisitions by Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google-parent Alphabet as it ramps up antitrust inquiries

  • The Federal Trade Commission asked Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google's parent company for information on past acquisitions, it said in a press release Tuesday.
  • The FTC sent letters asking about "potentially anticompetitive acquisitions" the companies had made over the past decade but not yet reported to the agency.
  • The inquiry comes amid numerous other antitrust investigations into the tech industry in both the US and Europe.
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The Federal Trade Commission is looking into past acquisitions made by major tech companies, the agency announced in a press release Tuesday.

The FTC said it had sent orders to Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google's parent company, Alphabet, asking for "information about prior acquisitions not reported to the antitrust agencies" the companies may have made over the past decade.Advertisement

"This initiative will enable the Commission to take a closer look at acquisitions in this important sector, and also to evaluate whether the federal agencies are getting adequate notice of transactions that might harm competition. This will help us continue to keep tech markets open and competitive, for the benefit of consumers," FTC chairman Joseph Simons said in the statement.

Companies are required to report some, but not all, acquisitions to regulators under federal law, but the FTC's investigation indicates it is looking into past purchases that may have flown under the radar.

The announcement come as major tech companies are already facing a variety of antitrust probes from regulators in both the US and in Europe looking into whether the firms are unfairly undermining competition. The investigations are looking into everything from Google's advertising business to Amazon Web Services to Facebook's handling of consumer data and privacy issues.

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