Biden’s three trustbusters to take aim at Apple et al.

With the nomination of Jonathan Kanter as the head of the DOJ’s antitrust division, we have a trifecta.

From Lauren Hirsch and David McCabe’s “Biden to Name a Critic of Big Tech as the Top Antitrust Cop” in Wednesday’s New York Times:

Jonathan Kanter, a longtime antitrust lawyer, has built his career largely around working for smaller rivals of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple.

The White House said on Tuesday that it would nominate Jonathan Kanter to be the top antitrust official at the Justice Department, a move that would add another longtime critic of Big Tech and corporate concentration to a powerful regulatory position.

President Biden’s plan to appoint Mr. Kanter, an antitrust lawyer who has made a career out of representing rivals of American tech giants like Google and Facebook, signals how strongly the administration is siding with the growing field of lawmakers, researchers and regulators who say Silicon Valley has obtained outsize power over the way Americans speak with one another, buy products online and consume news.

Mr. Biden has named other critics of Big Tech to prominent roles, such as Lina Khan, a critic of Amazon, to lead the Federal Trade Commission. Tim Wu, another legal scholar who says regulators need to crack down on the tech giants, serves in an economic policy role at the White House. And this month, Mr. Biden signed a sweeping executive order aimed at increasing competition across the economy and limiting corporate dominance.

My take: Kanter, Khan and Wu. Sounds like a heavy duty law firm.

7 Comments

  1. Mark Visnic said:
    Kantar has represented Microsoft.

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    July 21, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    In the absence of a public outcry of antipathy against big tech, I question the success by this trifecta in its endeavor. This is not a flat race of five furloughs. No, this is the Belmont “Test of Champions” and I place my hard earned money on big tech. This triple has a very long course and time is a factor for this trifecta in getting things done. We’re already approaching mid term elections around the corner.

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    July 21, 2021
  3. David Emery said:
    Unless the Biden Administration develops and publishes a clear tech anti-trust policy, we’ll see a bunch of enforcement actions that will bump up to the limits of current law. And if the Dems attack big tech without a clear and convincing overarching policy, tech moguls might well respond by taking their contributions elsewhere (most likely leaving their hands in their pockets.) Today’s Boston Globe has an article on why the Dems are increasingly worried about mid-terms.

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    July 21, 2021
    • Mark Visnic said:
      “Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory” comes to mind.

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      July 21, 2021
  4. Dan Scropos said:
    The Three Stooges would be a better title. While governors and bureaucrats gave Walmart, Costco, Lowe’s, and other big-box stores “essential” status, allowing them to stay open during the COVID pandemic, 400,000 small businesses are estimated to have closed during the first 3 months of lockdowns. Now they’re championing competition? How can they say this with a straight face?

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    July 21, 2021
  5. Steven Noyes said:
    If you can’t innovate, litigate. This seems the rallying cry of most “competitors”.

    The issue is the outcry concerning monopoly control is coming, not from the general public, but from other platforms trying to establish themselves in an already saturated market. This doesn’t mean there is not room for more regulatory control (though the current administration wanting to dictate universal platform bans for people and ideas they don’t like sounds like a very bad direction) from tech but I don’t see how they “bust” up some of these.

    Apple? Perhaps iTunes and AppleTV but it would be hard pressed to break away any significant chunk given they all use the same tool sets, OSes, APIs and such. Doing so would simply destroy the entire eco-system and make the products a RPITA to use.

    Amazon? Alexa and those services but again, these are only small parts of their overall business.

    Google? YouTube could easily be independent. Android? You could break it apart but it would quickly die a painful death with thousands of splinters working through the industry.

    FaceBook? Instagram and What’sApp could become independent again.

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    July 21, 2021
  6. Rodney Avilla said:
    It looks like Biden wants to put to rest the argument as to which political party is best for business

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    July 21, 2021

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