FTC to look into past Big Tech acquisitions, including Microsoft

The Federal Trade Commission announced Tuesday that it intends to look into past acquisitions from Big Tech companies, including Microsoft Corp. MSFT, -1.13%, which had so far avoided scrutiny in a blitz of investigations into other tech companies. Google parent company Alphabet Inc. GOOG, +0.54%GOOGL, +0.55%, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN, +1.92%, Apple Inc. AAPL, +0.03%, Facebook Inc. FB, -2.29% and Microsoft received special orders from the FTC to provide information about acquisitions dating back to the beginning of 2010 that did not undergo scrutiny from the federal government under the Hart-Scott-Rodino, or HSR, Act. "The orders will help the FTC deepen its understanding of large technology firms’ acquisition activity, including how these firms report their transactions to the federal antitrust agencies, and whether large tech companies are making potentially anticompetitive acquisitions of nascent or potential competitors that fall below HSR filing thresholds and therefore do not need to be reported to the antitrust agencies," the agency said in its announcement. Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook have been scrutinized by multiple government agencies in the past year, as well as European authorities, for their tactics while holding potentially dominant positions in certain markets. Microsoft, though, has so far publicly avoided any of that scrutiny after surviving its own antitrust fight with the government in the days of the dot-com boom and bust. Shares in all five companies dipped in intraday trading immediately after the announcement was made.

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