The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
F.T.C. Decision on Pursuing Facebook Antitrust Case Is Said to Be Near. The Federal Trade Commission is moving closer to a decision about filing an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook for its market power in social networking, according to two people with knowledge of the agency’s talks. The five members of the F.T.C. met on Thursday to discuss its investigation into Facebook and whether the company had bought smaller rivals to maintain a monopoly, the people said. They said three documents about Facebook had been prepared by the agency and circulated among its leaders: One addresses the company’s potential antitrust violations, another analyzes its economics, and a third assesses the risks of litigation. No decision on a case has been made, the people said.
U.S. government files antitrust lawsuit against Google. The U.S. Justice Department and 11 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday for allegedly breaking the law in using its market power to fend off rivals. Google, whose search engine is so ubiquitous that its name has become a verb, had revenue of $162 billion in 2019, more than the nation of Hungary. Coming just days before the U.S. presidential election, the filing’s timing could be seen as a political gesture since it fulfills a promise made by President Donald Trump to his supporters to hold certain companies to account for allegedly stifling conservative voices.
Japan to join forces with U.S., Europe in regulating Big Tech firms: antitrust watchdog head. Japan will join forces with the United States and Europe to take on any market abuses by the four Big Tech companies, the new head of its antitrust watchdog said, a sign Tokyo will join global efforts to regulate digital platform operators. Kazuyuki Furuya, chairman of Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC), also said Tokyo could open a probe into any merger or business tie-up involving fitness tracker maker Fitbit FIT.N if the size of such deals are big enough. “If the size of any merger or business-tie up is big, we can launch an anti-monopoly investigation into the buyer’s process of acquiring a start-up (like Fitbit),” he told Reuters. “We’re closely watching developments including in Europe.”
Edited by Gary J. Malone