A federal judge approved the blockbuster merger between AT&T and Time Warner, rebuffing the government’s effort to block the $85.4 billion deal, in a decision that is expected to unleash a wave of takeovers in corporate America. Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court in Washington said the Justice Department had not proved that the telecommunication company’s acquisition of Time Warner would lead to fewer choices for consumers and higher prices for television and internet services.
In April 2017, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, led the charge for his agency to approve rules allowing television broadcasters to greatly increase the number of stations they own.
Around the world, governments are moving simultaneously to limit the power of tech companies with an urgency and breadth that no single industry had experienced before. Their motivation varies.
A year after the pandemic turned the nation’s digital divide into an education emergency, President Joe Biden, inheriting the problem, is making affordable broadband a top priority, comparing it to the effort to spread electricity across the country. His $2 trillion infrastructure plan includes $100 billion to extend fast internet access to every home. The money is meant to improve the economy by enabling all Americans to work, get medical care and take classes from wherever they live.
Microsoft takes aim at Google as it supports bill to give news publishers more leverage over Big Tech.
The House Antitrust Subcommittee debated an antitrust bill that would give news publishers collective bargaining power with online platforms like Facebook and Google, putting the spotlight on a proposal aimed at chipping away at the power of Big Tech. At a hearing. Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, emerged as a leading industry voice in favor of the law. He took a divergent path from his tech counterparts, pointing to an imbalance in power between publishers and tech platforms.
Lawmakers say the attack on the Capitol has generated more support for tougher regulation of social media companies
Many Democrats, as well as some Republicans, want to take on Big Tech with laws and regulations to address issues like market power, data privacy, and disinformation and hate speech. Those ambitions have only grown since the insurrection of Capitol Hill, with more members of Congress pointing to the power of the tech companies as the root cause of many problems. The growing talk of new federal laws adds to the industry’s many headaches. Facebook and Google are fighting federal and state regulators in court over allegations of anticompetitive conduct.
More than 30 states added to Google’s mushrooming legal woes, accusing the company of illegally arranging its search results to push out smaller rivals. The bipartisan group of state prosecutors said in a lawsuit that Google downplayed websites that let users search for information in specialized areas like home repair services and travel reviews. The prosecutors also accused the company of using exclusive deals with phone makers like Apple to prioritize Google’s search service over rivals like Firefox and DuckDuckGo.
Big Tech Was The Enemy of the House Judiciary Committee, Until Partisanship Fractured the Battle Plans
For all the divisions in Washington, one issue that had united Republicans and Democrats in recent years was their animus toward the power of the biggest tech companies. That bipartisanship was supposed to come together soon in a landmark House report that caps a 15-month investigation into the practices of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The report was set to feature recommendations from lawmakers to rein in the companies, including the most sweeping changes to US antitrust laws in half a century.
The Department of Justice’s impending lawsuit against Google has narrowed to focus on the company’s power over internet search, a decision that could set off a cascade of separate lawsuits from states in ensuing weeks over the Silicon Valley giant’s dominance in other business segments.
The chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook -- four tech giants worth nearly $5 trillion combined -- faced withering questions from Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike for the tactics and market dominance that had made their enterprises successful. For more than five hours, the 15 members of an antitrust panel in the House lobbed questions and repeatedly interrupted and talked over Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sundar Pichai of