FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons testifies at Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the proposed budgets for the FCC and the FTC on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
(Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is prepared to break up major technology companies if necessary by undoing past mergers, Chairman Joe Simons said in an interview with Bloomberg published on Tuesday, as the regulator probes anti-competitive practices in the sector.
Simons said in the interview that breaking up a company is challenging, but could be the right remedy to rein in dominant companies and restore competition.
He is leading a broad review of the technology sector to see whether companies, including Facebook Inc, are harming competition.
The FTC declined to comment beyond Simon’s comments in the article.
Bloomberg quoted Simons as saying of breaking up companies, “If you have to, you do it.” He added, “It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to you have to.”
Share story Last spring, soon after Facebook acknowledged that the data of tens of millions of its users had improperly been obtained by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, a top enforcement official at the Federal Trade Commission drafted a memo about the prospect of disciplining the social network.
Senator Elizabeth Warren has vowed to break up Amazon.com, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook if elected U.S. president, to promote competition in the technology sector.
Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Bengaluru. Editing by Rosalba O'BrienOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.