An Architect Of Biden’s Antitrust Push Is Leaving The White House

Tim Wu has been a leading proponent of a more aggressive approach to reining in the power of big business.

Mark Zuckerberg Testifies About Meta’s Virtual Reality Ambitions

Meta’s chief executive made a rare court appearance as the Federal Trade Commission tries to block his company’s purchase of the virtual reality start-up Within.

Ted Cruz Amendment Blows Up Journalism Antitrust Bill

Two hours into its Thursday markup, Republicans inserted provisions designed to limit the platforms’ abilities to moderate content, over the objections of lead sponsor Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who then withdrew the bill.

NEWS ANALYSIS

FTC Chair Upends Antitrust Standards With Meta Lawsuit

Lina Khan may set off a shift in how Washington regulates competition by filing cases in tech areas before they mature. She faces an uphill climb.

Google Offers Concessions To Fend Off U.S. Antitrust Lawsuit

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has offered concessions in an attempt to head off a possible U.S. antitrust lawsuit aimed at its massive ad-tech business, according to people familiar with the matter, a sign that legal and regulatory pressures on the tech giant are coming to a head.

Battle Over Big Tech Bills Goes Down To The Wire

Lobbying both for and against legislation to crack down on U.S. tech giants is intensifying as the Senate enters a critical month for the antitrust bills. All eyes are on Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who will need to decide whether to prioritize measures to regulate Google, Apple, Amazon and Meta over other key bills prior to the August recess.

Amazon Boosts Criticism Of Antitrust Bill Targeting Tech Giants

Amazon is ramping up criticism of a key antitrust bill that aims to rein in the e-commerce giant’s power, in part by trying to distance itself from the other tech giants targeted by the proposed legislation. Brian Huseman Amazon’s VP of public policy  published a blog post Wednesday slamming the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), in the company’s most extensive and direct criticism of the legislation.

Bills Prompt Faceoff Between Big Tech, Antitrust Groups

Big Tech and antitrust enforcement activists are squaring off over a couple of bipartisan bills in Congress meant to address the size and power of tech giants like Facebook, Amazon and Google. They made their opposing views known in dueling letters to congressional leaders considering the new legislation.

Commerce Dept. Backs Key Antitrust Bill Targeting Tech Giants

Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Wednesday the department supports a proposal that aims to block tech giants from giving preferential treatment to their own products and services. The Commerce Department’s backing adds to the Biden administration’s support behind the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, following a letter the Department of Justice released last month.

Justice Department Backs Antitrust Bill Targeting Large Tech Platforms

The Justice Department is backing an antitrust bill that would prohibit the largest tech companies from favoring their own products or services. “The Department views the rise of dominant platforms as presenting a threat to open markets and competition, with risks for consumers, businesses, innovation, resiliency, global competitiveness, and our democracy,” Peter Hyun, an acting assistant attorney general, said Monday in a letter to leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

FTC, Justice Seek Input On Media, Tech Mergers

The Biden administration is looking beyond antitrust theories for input on the “first-hand impacts” of media and tech mergers to help guide its planned rethink of merger enforcement. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission, which together divvy up antitrust reviews, will co-host “listening forums,” seeking input beyond antitrust experts to consumers, workers, entrepreneurs and others

FTC Nears Decision On Whether To Challenge Amazon-MGM Merger

The FTC is set to decide over the next few weeks whether to bring an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon’s planned merger with MGM. The $8.45 billion deal was announced last May, around the same time as WarnerMedia-Discovery. The latter merger has the DOJ’s blessing and is on track to close early in the second quarter. But regulators put Amazon on notice last July that they were investigating its acquisition of the storied studio.

Senate Judiciary Committee Advances Big Tech Antitrust Bill

A major piece of legislation aimed at limiting the business conduct of Amazon and other tech platforms cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, underscoring a bipartisan desire to curb the influence of major internet companies.

FTC, DOJ Launch Joint Inquiry Aimed At Blocking Illegal Mergers

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s antitrust division on Tuesday launched a new inquiry aimed at updating guidelines to block illegal mergers. The agencies are seeking public input to update guidelines over the next 60 days.

Facebook Antitrust Suit Can Proceed, Judge Says

U.S. antitrust officials can continue their case to break up Meta, Facebook’s parent company, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday, dealing a blow to the social media giant, which had argued the complaint should be dismissed. The decision allows federal prosecutors to try to prove their allegations that Meta has illegally abused a monopoly in the marketplace for social media — and that its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp should be spun off.

Amazon Cloud Unit Draws Antitrust Scrutiny From Khan’s FTC

The Federal Trade Commission is pushing forward with antitrust scrutiny of Amazon’s cloud computing business, according to people familiar with the matter. Lina Khan, the head of the agency and a vocal critic of the online retailer, is advancing a probe started several years ago by her predecessor.

Congressional Dems Sound Antitrust Alarm With Justice Over Discovery-WarnerMedia Merger

Democrats in Congress are taking aim at the pending $43 billion merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, pushing the Justice Department to scrutinize the transaction on antitrust grounds. In a letter sent Monday to Attorney General Merrick Garland and Justice Department antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter, the legislators assert that too much consolidation in media will hurt competition in Hollywood’s labor market and result in less diversity overall in content.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Biden’s Antitrust Squeeze May Grease The Wheels For TV Deals

The Biden administration made a statement earlier this month when the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit to block the $2.1 billion sale of Simon & Schuster. Merrick Garland’s body block of the deal that ViacomCBS struck with Bertelsmann’s Penguin Random House sends the message that the White House is paying attention to the pace of consolidation in media and entertainment. If the antitrust division is worried about too much concentration among owners of the oldest of mass media platforms — books — just think how the Attorney General’s watchdogs would view nuptials among two major studios or more big-name broadcast and cable assets.

Senate Confirms Kanter To Head DOJ Antitrust Division

The bipartisan vote Tuesday was 68-29 to confirm Jonathan Kanter, an antitrust lawyer who has opposed tech giants in private practice, as assistant attorney general heading the Justice Department’s antitrust division. The position has been without a permanent head for nearly a year as Biden and his advisers sifted through a number of qualified candidates and then nominated Kanter in July to face Senate vetting.

Facebook Faces New Antitrust Lawsuit

The suit, filed by the now defunct photo start-up Phhhoto, accused the social network of stalling on a deal and then putting it out of business.

Inside The Big Facebook Leak

Facebook Documents Offer Treasure Trove For Washington’s Antitrust War

Documents collected by whistleblower Frances Haugen could give the company “a lot to regret” in its fights to prove it’s not a monopoly.

A Star Corporate Lawyer Now Set To Take On Corporate America

How Jonathan Kanter, the Biden administration’s choice to be the Justice Department’s antitrust chief, became a progressive foe of Big Tech.

Facebook Again Asks Judge To Dismiss FTC Antitrust Complaint

Tegna Raises Antitrust Concerns Over Possible Buyout Bid

An auction of the Tegna TV station empire has been thrown into doubt as the company has questioned whether a prospective sale to a leading bidder would face antitrust concerns from U.S. regulators.

Australia Challenges Google’s Ad Dominance, Calls For Data-Use Rules

Australia’s antitrust watchdog is calling for powers to curb Google’s use of internet data to sell targeted ads, joining other regulators in saying the firm dominates the market to the point of hurting publishers, advertisers and consumers.

DOJ Official Signals Firm Stance Against ‘Killer Acquisitions’

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, who oversees the agency’s antitrust division, said the Justice Department will not shy away from enforcing antitrust laws against so-called killer acquisitions, where dominant firms buy start-ups before they can become competitive threats. Acquisitions of nascent competitors, she said, “are one category of particularly concerning transactions because they undermine competition that can disrupt monopolies.”

Justice Dept. Said To Accelerate Google Ad Inquiry

The moves may result in a second antitrust lawsuit against Google before the end of the year.

Facebook’s Stealth M&A Puts Focus On Deals Under Antitrust Radar

Last year, Facebook Inc. did something U.S. technology giants have done countless times before: It bought a smaller company and closed the deal without notifying competition regulators. But this transaction — the $400 million acquisition of image library Giphy Inc. — was particularly bold. At the time, Facebook was under investigation by antitrust enforcers for what the government says was an illegal practice of buying companies in order to eliminate them as potential threats to its monopoly power. Maneuvers like Giphy’s make policing deals all the more challenging at a time when authorities are being called on to take more aggressive steps to curb the growth of dominant companies, especially in the technology industry.

FTC Bulks Up Antitrust Complaint Against Facebook

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday filed a revised, and significantly lengthier, antitrust complaint against Facebook, in an attempt to persuade a federal judge to allow the prosecution to proceed. Facebook “unlawfully acquired innovative competitors with popular mobile features that succeeded where Facebook’s own offerings fell flat or fell apart,” the agency stated Thursday in a post summarizing its new complaint.

FTC Expected To Reveal New Strategy In Facebook Antitrust Fight

The Federal Trade Commission this week is expected to lay out its new legal strategy in an ongoing antitrust battle with Facebook that will also reveal how FTC chief Lina Khan plans to take on the market power of U.S. tech giants. The FTC has until Thursday to disclose whether it plans to proceed with the case after a major courtroom setback earlier this year. The agency is largely expected to move forward, and is likely to do so by filing an amended complaint.

Biden’s Antitrust Team Signals A Big Swing At Corporate Titans

The president has stacked his administration with crusaders who have spent their careers challenging corporate consolidation.

Biden To Appoint Big Tech Critic To DOJ Antitrust Role

President Biden plans to appoint lawyer Jonathan Kanter as the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division, the White House announced Tuesday, another sign of the administration’s intention to take on Big Tech.  Kanter has been a favorite pick of progressive organizations pushing for the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission to do more to crack down on anticompetitive conduct, especially in the tech industry.

FTC To Expand Antitrust Enforcement Powers

The Federal Trade Commission on Thursday voted to expand the regulatory agency’s enforcement powers, a signal of Democratic commissioners’ willingness to crack down on alleged anti-competitive behavior. The Democratic-controlled commission voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal a 2015 policy statement that blocked the regulatory agency from challenging “unfair methods of competition” that don’t violate existing antitrust laws.

Amazon Wants FTC Chair Lina Khan Barred From MGM Review, Other Antitrust Probes

Amazon formally asked the Federal Trade Commission to block recently appointed agency chair Lina Khan — an outspoken critic of Amazon and other tech giants — from participating in antitrust reviews involving the company because she has shown a demonstrable bias against Amazon. Amazon on Wednesday filed a motion with the FTC requesting Khan’s recusal.

Antitrust Overhaul Passes Its First Tests. Now, The Hard Parts

When the Judiciary Committee began approving a suite of bills on Wednesday, fault lines were exposed that could make final passage difficult.

Tech Giants, Fearful Of Proposals To Curb Them, Blitz Washington With Lobbying

Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen groups paid by Big Tech have tried to head off bipartisan support for six bills meant to undo the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

Lawmakers, Taking Aim At Big Tech, Push Sweeping Overhaul Of Antitrust

A bipartisan group of House members introduced five bills targeting Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.

NEWS ANALYSIS

Biden Vacancies Delay Big Tech Reckoning

President Biden still hasn’t named permanent leaders at the key agencies overseeing the tech and telecom industries, giving him a late start on confronting powerful U.S. companies. If Biden doesn’t move quickly, there won’t be enough time left for his administration to take on big targets and tackle thorny policy problems.

TVN’S FRONT OFFICE BY MARY COLLINS

Collins | Is The Antitrust Free Ride Over For Big Tech?

Facebook and Google lead the media industry as companies being most heavily targeted by the FTC, Congress and even the Biden Administration. The central question at the heart of scores of lawsuits files in the past year:  Have companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft become too powerful, and do they exercise anticompetitive practices?