The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
Meta battles U.S. antitrust agency over future of virtual reality. The Biden administration accused Meta Platforms Inc of trying to buy its way to dominance in the metaverse, kicking off a high-profile trial to try to prevent the Facebook parent from buying virtual reality app developer Within Inc. The FTC sued in July to stop the deal, saying Meta’s acquisition of Within would “tend to create a monopoly” in the market for virtual reality (VR) fitness apps. It has asked the judge to order a preliminary injunction that would halt the proposed transaction.
Microsoft gaming ambitions hobbled as U.S. seeks to block Activision deal. The Biden administration moved to block Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to buy “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard , throwing a stumbling block in front of the tech giant’s plans to rapidly expand its portfolio of popular games and catch up to bigger rivals. Microsoft, which owns the Xbox console and game network platform, said in January 2022 that it would buy Activision for $68.7 billion in the biggest gaming industry deal in history. Without Activision and its variety of games across mobile, consoles and PCs, Microsoft could struggle to attract users to its budding subscription service for accessing games. In its complaint, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which enforces antitrust law, said that Microsoft had a record of hoarding valuable gaming content.
Big firms like Ticketmaster can become ‘too big to care,’ -U.S. FTC chair. The chair of the Federal Trade Commission, Lina Khan, said giant companies like Ticketmaster, which faces a tsunami of criticism for problems in selling tickets to a 2023 Taylor Swift tour, can become “too big to care.” Speaking at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit, Khan said it was the Justice Department that approved the merger of Ticketmaster and Live Nation in 2010 and referenced a report that the department had a probe under way. “There can be concerns that when firms become (large) they can become too big to care,” she added, saying giant firms may feel no need to invest in innovation because they do not face tough competition.
Edited by Gary J. Malone