FTC chair Lena Kahn gets grilled by Sorkin and Swisher (video)

“Moat-building” acquisitions like Apple’s will be in the FTC’s spotlight.

Watch live as FTC Chair Lina Khan sits discusses her plans to take on Big Tech:

In her first on-camera sit-down since assuming the role, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan will speak with Andrew Ross Sorkin, CNBC anchor and New York Times DealBook founder, and Kara Swisher, host of Times’ “Sway” podcast and a CNBC contributor, for an exclusive interview. During the conversation, Khan will discuss the antitrust landscape, the growing power of big tech as well as the FTC’s approach to the current wave of mergers and acquisitions, among other topics.

Cue the video:

My take: Timely, important interview by two of the best.

15 Comments

  1. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    Calling Michael Goldfeder! Here’s an open topic to comment on Lina Kahn!

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    January 19, 2022
    • Michael Goldfeder said:
      @Robert: I just finished her entire interview. If this were the Olympics, Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan proudly wins the Bronze. Andrew Ross Sorkin, and Kara Swisher would be much better in the role as Chair of the FTC. They both were outstanding!

      Watching this interview, it reminded me of an individual Trump presented to the Senate as a lifetime appointment for a Federal Judge. The person had not even gone to court at any level; Federal or State Court. Had not even done a deposition. What a Joke! This individual withdrew their name, and rightly so. I see the same parallels here with one major exception; Kahn took her job!

      What was very telling was the reaction from Khan when her “Famous Paper” written at Law School was brought up as a topic. She didn’t like being attacked and had quite the interesting look on her face. Much like a Heisman Trophy Winner being asked about a crummy performance after a big game where his team lost.

      Watching anyone in an interview deflect away hard questions with the canned responses of: “A phenomenally important question; A difficult question; A good question; blah, blah, blah.” Says lots about her skill set as she’s way in over her head IMO with this appointment.

      On the bright side, she might be okay for Apple as she did state whether privacy is adequate as a general concept for consumers. Which plays directly into Apple’s wheelhouse. What does concern me though is her open hostility to any concept of a “Moat” that consumers appreciate having the opportunity to partake for ease of use and privacy purposes.

      She really fell by the weigh side when she stated: “Asking people how to handle questions of degradation of competition or harm”, reeks of embracing the likes of Epic Games and the “Coalition for App Fairness” as her trusted advisors. It was also quite noteworthy listening to the comment about her approach to antitrust that was set forth in the written article by Larry Summers. Love him or hate him, it was quite telling and it struck me as if she had just had her heart pierced by an arrow.

      My overall perception of the interview is she’s exactly what I thought: An academic activist with no real world experience being put in charge of a massive Agency who dreams of a utopia without realities. I’m certain the rank and file at the FTC are unimpressed with her appointment with a background totally devoid of any actual legal trench warfare.

      10
      January 19, 2022
      • Robert Paul Leitao said:
        Michael: Lina Khan is bright, talented and articulate. In watching the video, I disagree with her perspective dating back to conditions in 1914 that pre-date even WWI and what was a much different domestic and global economic environment. Additionally, I think the break-up of AT&T in so many ways was an absolute waste of resources for a compromised outcome. I believe it was William French Smith, the attorney general at the time, who said in the early 80’s in response to the decision not to pursue anti-trust actions against IBM that “bigness doesn’t necessarily mean badness.” In both instances (AT&T and IBM) innovation and technology advancements did more to change the competitive landscape than any government action.

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        January 19, 2022
  2. Michael Goldfeder said:
    @Joseph: “Let’s see what happens when she tries to spread her wings….” My concern is that she’s going to be: “Icarus” 2.0.

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    January 19, 2022
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Michael: Lina Khan is considered to be a progressive and received enthusiast support from Sen. Warren upon the announcement she would chair the FTC. There is some controversy due to her scholarly work and concerns by both Amazon and Facebook of existing bias as she considers action against both companies. We’ll know quite soon how she chooses to prioritize the FTC’s work and how she chooses to allocate the considerable government resources at her disposal as chair of the FTC.

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      January 19, 2022

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