FTC to probe decade's worth of acquisitions by Google, Amazon, Apple & more

The Federal Trade Commission issued special orders on Feb. 11 requesting that Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Alphabet, including subsidiary Google, provide documentation about their small-scale acquisitions from 2010 through 2019.

Each of the five big tech companies is asked to submit information about the "terms, scope, structure and purpose" of any acquisitions that were not large enough to require reporting to national antitrust regulators, according to an FTC news release.

The FTC will conduct a study of the acquisitions to better understand how smaller acquisitions affect large technology companies' business activities and operations. These effects will be compared to those of major acquisitions, such as Google's recent purchase of Fitbit, which are automatically required to undergo antitrust reviews by federal agencies.

"Digital technology companies are a big part of the economy and our daily lives," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in the release. "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."

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