This may be good news for leading tech firms: For the first time in more than a century, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has defined what “competition” means and what constitutes “anti-competitive behavior.” The decision is significant for companies like Google, Facebook, Intel, and Apple, which have all received unwanted scrutiny from the FTC–though it may not clear things up as much as they would like.
The agency issued a short document detailing when it would use its authority, emphasizing the exact circumstances in which the FTC would pursue companies for anti-trust activity.
“The act or practice will be evaluated under a framework similar to the rule of reason, that is, an act or practice challenged by the Commission must cause, or be likely to cause, harm to competition or the competitive process, taking into account any associated cognizable efficiencies and business justifications,” the FTC wrote in impeccable legalese. In other words, the agency doesn’t get too specific.
“It would be nearly impossible to describe in advance all of the conduct that may threaten competition or the competitive process,” FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez argued, according to Reuters.
Earlier this summer, the FTC announced it was investigating Apple’s communications with record labels, to comb through the terms of its streaming service’s exclusivity agreements.
[via Washington Post]