Trump threatens anti-trust laws for digital behemoths

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US President Donald J. Trump said he is considering the introduction of new anti-trust laws targeting US tech giants for reasons that remain unclear, but include his unsubstantiated assertion that Amazon’s package deliveries via the US Postal Service were costing the service money.

“We are looking at [antitrust] very seriously,” Trump said. “Look, that doesn’t mean we’re doing it, but we’re certainly looking and I think most people surmise that, I would imagine.”

Trump has often attacked the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, mainly for his delivery arrangements with the US Postal Service and for critical coverage of the Trump administration in the Washington Post, which Bezos also owns.

Trump claimed in a television interview on November 4 that “a previous administration” also considered the break up of key players in the technology industry, but later halted their plans because the Federal Trade Commission concluded that companies like internet service company Google had not violated the US’ antitrust laws.

Trump’s own antitrust chief, Makan Delrahim, has himself questioned the White House’s assertion that economic evidence exists which proves that major tech companies are harming competition and innovation

European antitrust officials have already slapped Google with a €5 billion fine for bundling its own apps with its browser, search engine, and the Google Play store in Europe, thereby creating violating Brussels’ rules on monopolistic activities. The EU has also charged Apple with tax evasion and Facebook of providing intentionally misleading information about the social media giant’s €16.6 billion takeover of WhatsApp in February 2014.

Trump was incensed by the European Union’s targeting of major US firms but now seems willing to borrow from Europe’s playbook to curb the activities of business owners that Trump has personal issues with.

Though Trump doubled down on his belief that Europe was intentionally trying to take unfair advantage of American companies, he also stressed that his administration would explore the possibility of conducting its own antitrust investigation that could result in the levelling of fines against the same troika of firms that the EU has tried to tame.


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