Interview Synopsis

Big tech – Q4 2020 antitrust update – Google, Facebook & Apple focus

  • Multi Asset
  • TMT
  • North America

Recent years have seen increased scrutiny of big tech companies, not least owing to concerns over monopolies and consumer privacy. In light of these issues, Third Bridge Forum interviewed a former general counsel for the US Senate Antitrust Subcommittee and antitrust attorney with the DoJ to learn more about the legal issues affecting these and related companies.

Antitrust update: what’s the case for big tech in 2020?

The Interview started with a rundown of the key elements of antitrust cases against big tech over the past decade, from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) investigating Google in 2011-12 to Epic Games’ lawsuit against Apple this year.

One shift, the specialist noted, is greater mistrust of big tech. Previously, these companies were looked upon with more favour, as they were providing free services. However, now “these tech companies are under [an] enormous amount of scrutiny, the attitude towards them in the public and among regulators really has changed and they’re under a lot of suspicion.”

In October the Department of Justice (DoJ) announced that it was filing a lawsuit against Google. “The Justice Department alleged that Google has a monopoly in search, but [the] second and the most important part of the complaint is that they’ve been engaged in illegal conduct or exclusionary conduct to maintain that monopoly.” The senior executive detailed the practices that could come under the lawsuit and surmised what the company’s defence could be.

The discussion also covered whether the FTC could eventually take action against Facebook. “They don’t make any announcements until they’re ready to take some action or close the investigation, so we don’t really know for sure, but given these press reports by reputable sources, like The Wall Street Journal, I think it’s probably more likely than not that the FTC will bring a case against Facebook.”

Other topics in the Interview included the differences between the FTC and DoJ, how a Biden presidency could affect the landscape, and risks for big tech over the coming years.

To access all the human insights from Third Bridge Forum’s Big Tech – Q4 2020 Antitrust Update – Google, Facebook & Apple Focus Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

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The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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