Factbox-Amazon antitrust lawsuit latest in US efforts to rein in big firms' clout

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen at the Federal Trade Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C., U.S., August 29, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

(Reuters) - U.S. antitrust regulators on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com accusing the online retailer of harming consumers with higher prices, the latest in a long history of tough action against monopolies that can be traced back to the breakup of Standard Oil.

More recently, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulators have targeted Big Tech including Alphabet's Google and Meta Platforms' Facebook.

Here is a list of attempts by regulators to split up big companies:

Standard Oil (1911)- Regulators alleged John Rockefeller's Standard Oil held the monopoly in the oil business by using aggressive pricing to eliminate competition. Standard Oil was broken up into 34 companies. Some of these independent firms now include ExxonMobil and Chevron.

Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) (1945)- The Justice Department charged Alcoa with illegally monopolizing the aluminum market and demanded the company be dissolved. The case lasted years and the government sold aluminum production plants built during the war to Reynolds Aluminum and Kaiser Aluminum, creating a competitive market.

Paramount Pictures (1948) - The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a landmark antitrust case, also known as "Paramount case" or the "Hollywood antitrust case," that film studios could not legally own their own theaters, hitting the vertical integration of companies. It forced Paramount to cleave theaters from the studios.

IBM (1982) - The U.S. government initiated an antitrust investigation into the dominance of IBM that lasted for 13 years. The case was later withdrawn and the IT software and services provider remained intact.

AT&T (1984) - In 1974, the U.S. government filed an antitrust lawsuit against AT&T because it had a monopoly on telephone lines. After eight years of litigation, the two sides reached a settlement that led to AT&T giving up control of its regional operating companies, or "Baby Bells".

Microsoft (2001) - A U.S. District Judge ordered a breakup of the company over antitrust claims but appellate judges rejected it. The Justice Department and Microsoft reached a settlement in November 2001.

Meta Platforms (2023) - An appeals court ruled in favor of Meta by refusing to revive a lawsuit filed by states against its Facebook unit over alleged antitrust law violations.

Both the FTC and the states had asked the court in 2020 to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought for $1 billion in 2012, and WhatsApp, which it bought for $19 billion in 2014.

(Reporting by Jaspreet Singh and Zaheer Kachwala in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Josie Kao)

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