Factbox: Big Tech Wins Two Battles in Fight With US Antitrust Enforcers

Big Tech
FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo

Facebook won two big fights with antitrust enforcers – and joined the $1 trillion club for market capitalization – as a federal judge threw out two lawsuits against it this week.

Below are updates on the status of major U.S. and state government lawsuits and investigations regarding Big Tech.

Two lawsuits against Facebook:

In a stunning defeat, Judge James Boasberg said the Federal Trade Commission – which had sued Facebook in December asking that Facebook be forced to sell WhatsApp and Instagram – failed to show that Facebook had monopoly power in the social-networking market, among other problems. He said, however, the FTC could file a new complaint by July 29.

He threw out a related state lawsuit entirely, saying that the attorneys general had waited too long. They are looking at their options.

Three lawsuits against Google, and a fourth to come:

The U.S. Justice Department sued Alphabet Inc’s Google in October, accusing the $1 trillion company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals. A trial date was set for Sept. 12, 2023.

A lawsuit by 38 U.S. states and territories accuses Google of abusing its market power to try to make its search engine as dominant inside cars, TVs and speakers as it is in phones. This was consolidated with the federal lawsuit for purposes of discovery. 

Texas, backed by other states, filed a separate lawsuit against Google, accusing it of breaking antitrust law in how it runs its online advertising business.

A group of state attorneys general is readying a lawsuit against Google this summer which would accuse it of violating antitrust law in running its mobile app store, according to three sources familiar with the matter.

Justice Department investigates Apple:

This probe, revealed in June 2019, appears to focus on Apple Inc’s app store. Some app developers have accused Apple of introducing new products very similar to existing apps created by other developers and sold in the Apple Store, and then trying to banish the older apps from the store because they compete with Apple’s new product. Apple says it seeks to have only the highest-quality apps in the app store.

Justice Department probing Facebook and Amazon:

In July 2019, the Justice Department said it was expanding its Big Tech probes to include “search, social media, and some retail services online” – an apparent reference to Facebook and Amazon.com Inc.

Federal Trade Commission on Amazon:

In its investigation of Amazon, the FTC is likely looking at the inherent conflict of interest of Amazon competing with small sellers on its marketplace platform, including allegations that it used information from sellers on its platform to decide what products it would introduce.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Matthew Lewis; Reuters

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