The Federal Trade Commission is creating a task force dedicated to monitoring competition in U.S. technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted.
To create the Technology Task Force, the FTC's Bureau of Competition will draw upon existing staff to enhance the Bureau’s focus on technology-related sectors of the economy, including markets in which online platforms compete. The creation of this task force is modeled on the FTC’s Merger Litigation Task Force, launched in 2002, which focused on merger enforcement in retail industries, particularly regarding matters involving food, beverages, and supermarkets.
“The role of technology in the economy and in our lives grows more important every day,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “As I’ve noted in the past, it makes sense for us to closely examine technology markets to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition. Our ongoing Hearings on Competition and Consumer Protection in the 21st Century are a crucial step to deepen our understanding of these markets and potential competitive issues. The Technology Task Force is the next step in that effort.”
The new task force team will include approximately 17 staff attorneys. Task force members, who will join the task force from divisions within the Bureau, will include attorneys with expertise in markets for online advertising, social networking, mobile operating systems and apps, and platform businesses. The task force will also include a Technology Fellow, who will provide important technical assistance and expertise to support the task force’s investigations.
In addition to examining industry practices and conducting law enforcement investigations, the Technology Task Force will, among other things, coordinate and consult with staff throughout the FTC on technology-related matters, including prospective merger reviews in the technology sector and reviews of consummated technology mergers.