Breaking!!! Anti – Trust probe is launched!!!

September 9, 2019

Ken Paxton -TX leads the way

Carl Racine – DC AG

50 AG have added to this probe.

Search is being investigated.  Query replies are favor Google businesses.

The objective is MONOPOLISTIC practice, which causes anti competitive practice and that is unfair to small business.

Google is DIRECTING traffic and is causing UNFAIR competition to large businesses who can afford to pay for adds that small business can’t.

When a companies name becomes a verb……….they so big that maybe they are a UTILITY.

This is a start.  Yet to see if it is a GOOD start

 

Watch Live: State AGs Unveil Sweeping Anti-Trust Probe Against Google On Steps Of The Supreme Court

 

Update: During the post-conference Q&A, Paxton revealed that, though their investigation is still in its early days, the AGs have already issued subpoenas related to Google’s digital advertising business.

“If advertising costs are higher…who ends up paying that?” Paxton said.

Asked about coordination with the federal government, Paxton and AG Sean Reyes of Utah, intimated that they had reached out to the FTC but that their response was unsatisfactory.

Washington DC’s AG Karl Racine insisted that their probe wasn’t intended to send a message to Congress, but that the AG’s investigation is an independent action. Later, Paxton said the investigation would be a “very open process” with the states, with each state and the federal government allowed to offer input.

“We’re open to using talent from every office in this country.”

And with that, the AGs ended what was a rather brief Q&A that lasted roughly ten minutes.

* * *

In the latest legal push that could ultimately result in the break-up of one of the world’s largest tech firms, a bipartisan group of more than 40 state attorneys general, led by Texas’s Ken Paxton, will unveil a sweeping anti-trust investigation against Google parent Alphabet Inc.

The anti-trust investigation, which was previewed late last week in a leak to the Wall Street Journal, aims to hold Alphabet accountable for the extreme concentration in the US technology industry. Specifically, the AG’s case will focus on Google’s influence in search and the digital advertising market, and whether the Silicon Valley giant’s overweening influence harms rivals and consumers.

Part of the message from Monday’s press conference will be asking Google employees who might have information about Google’s abuses in the online advertising market to come forward.

The investigation is being pursued alongside a flurry of federal lawsuits and investigations against the biggest tech firms being led by the DoJ (with the FTC assisting), as well as another investigation brought by state AGs against Facebook.

Nearly all of the states are participating in the investigation against Google, and/or a similar anti-trust investigation against Facebook. One notable exception: California isn’t participating in either suit (and Alabama will sit out the Google probe). The investigations come on the heels of a $5 billion settlement between Facebook and the FTC, which resolved some of the federal government’s claims over the company’s user-privacy violations.

The press conference kicking off the investigation will take place on the steps of the Supreme Court Monday afternoon.

According to Politico, eight attorneys general will make up what’s known as the “executive committee”. These states include: Texas, Arizona, Nebraska, Louisiana, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and Mississippi.

Watch the press conference live:

State Attorneys General Announce Probe of Tech Companies | NowThis

AGs TAKE ON TECH: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with other state attorneys general, is announcing a multi-state investigation into Big Tech companies. The probe, potentially focused on Google, will investigate possible anti-competitive behavior that stifled competition, restricted access, and harmed consumers. » Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe » Sign up for our newsletter KnowThis to get the biggest stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox: https://go.nowth.is/KnowThis #News #NowThis #NowThisNews Connect with NowThis » Like us on Facebook: http://go.nowth.is/News_Facebook » Tweet us on Twitter: http://go.nowth.is/News_Twitter » Follow us on Instagram: http://go.nowth.is/News_Instagram » Find us on Snapchat Discover: http://go.nowth.is/News_Snapchat NowThis is your premier news outlet providing you with all the videos you need to stay up to date on all the latest in trending news. From entertainment to politics, to viral videos and breaking news stories, we’re delivering all you need to know straight to your social feeds. We live where you live. http://www.youtube.com/nowthisnews @nowthisnews

AGs will explore whether Google and its fellow tech behemoths are stifling start-ups, delivering worse service and siphoning off too much personal data to bolster their bottom-lines at the expense of consumers.

“The growth of these [tech] companies has outpaced our ability to regulate them in a way that enhances competition,” Keith Ellison, a Democratic attorney general from Minnesota who is signing on to the effort to probe Google, told the Washington Post.

They need to be regulated,” he continued, “and my view is, it’s the state AGs job to do it, particularly when the federal government is not necessarily a reliable partner in the area.”

State AGs have been warned that Google will do everything in its power to “stonewall” these anti-trust investigations using formidable defensive tactics, despite the company’s promises of cooperation.

“The attorneys general have found they can actually rewrite the rules for entire sectors and individual companies through these cases,” said Rob McKenna, a former attorney general in Washington state and now a partner at the law firm Orrick. “The attorneys general have a lot of power here to achieve regulation by litigation.”

While Washington has typically taken the lead in investigating anti-trust matters dating back more than a century to the trust-busting days of the Gilded Age, state AGs are coming off a notably successful run, including their successful takedown of Purdue Pharma and other drug makers over their role in fostering the opioid crisis.

HAT TIP —

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-09-09/state-ags-unveil-sweeping-anti-trust-probe-against-google-steps-supreme-court


FACEBOOK – Break UP – Antitrust

May 9, 2019

Facebook is NOT that different from the ” English East India Company

(https://www.britannica.com/topic/East-India-Company) –

the world has gotten bigger and Facebook is very big.  The comparison is drawn when one looks the the ratio of company size and it’s breadth to the total population. 

 

Yet this all ends the same – the company ceases to exist – which is why Chris Hughes believes that merely the breakup will not be enough with Facebook, not without destroying the industry.

Hughes is well aware of the fate if it is broken up.  But isn’t that it’s fate anyway? Isn’t it the fate of every tyranny?  It’s END? The only difference is HOW things end.  The harder Facebook holds on, the bloodier it may be.  Remember, they enact POLICY and through policies LAWS are created.  So, THAT is the INFLUENCE that Hughes refers to in the article below.

STOP it we MUST – revise Antitrust laws and bring them UP to Facebook’s breadth.

 

Breaking Up Facebook Isn’t Enough

In an explosive opinion piece published today in The New York Times, Chris Hughes, a Facebook co-founder and Mark Zuckerberg’s former Harvard roommate, called for the government to break up the social-media company. “I haven’t worked at the company in a decade,” Hughes wrote, “But I feel a sense of anger and responsibility.”

That’s a nice gesture, and Hughes, now a co-founder of a basic-income collective, puts forth some worthy ideas that tech entrepreneurs, even lapsed ones, rarely embrace. But the gesture is still more rhetorical than actionable, and it doesn’t go nearly far enough into specifics about how to dismantle a company he calls a dangerous monopoly.


It probably makes sense to break up Facebook. Splitting off two of its subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp, would be a reasonable first step toward that end, and Hughes’s rationale for doing so also makes sense. Billions of people now use these services, and Facebook has made motions that it intends to integrate them into its other products. (That process has already been under way for some time, for example by surfacing Facebook updates in Instagram.)

 

But even if you did that, you’d be left with core Facebook. According to the Pew Research Center, about 68 percent of U.S. adults use Facebook, far more than the number who use Instagram or WhatsApp. Among these Facebook users, about three-quarters of them visit the site daily. The service is popular among every demographic, but especially among women, urbanites, and the college educated. Usage among older people has also been increasing steadily. Teens use Facebook a lot less than they used to—Instagram and Snapchat are more popular for young people—but they’ve hardly given up Facebook in the way some media coverage of those competitors might suggest. As of last year, according to Pew, a little more than half of kids ages 13 to 17 reported using the service.

These are the data that advocates would use to justify Facebook as a “natural monopoly,” like the water or electric grids. Hughes dismisses that claim, but offers no alternative perspective. Overall, he has little to say about how a hypothetical breakup of the company would impact the core Facebook product at all. Would you divest core Facebook into national shards and expatriate them, perhaps imposing some kind of punitive excise tax in the process? Would you break core Facebook up into sub-products, like Messenger, ads, News Feed, and so on? Given the fluidity of software, it’s hard to identify discrete products or services within Facebook’s offering, and Facebook itself changes them all the time—just recently, the company announced plans to redesign its app based on events and groups, and to de-prioritize the News Feed.

 

 

The company has never looked like a railroad or a telco, or even a technology company from a former era, like Microsoft, with its Windows, Office, Cloud, and other distinct products and associated divisions. Part of the problem with breaking up Facebook is that the company is amoebic, of little determinate form, like the networks of mucuous mesh grazers that trawl the deep seas.

The appeal of Hughes as a critic of Facebook derives from his status as a co-founder, an early member of the product team, and a friend of Mark Zuckerberg. And yet, he failed to concretize that unique experience into a unique perspective. It’s not like Hughes is the only party to suggest breaking up Facebook, or to cite Instagram and WhatsApp as the obvious limbs to sever first. Given how dire his warnings are about Facebook’s power, the idea that a tripartite version of the company would offer satisfactory reprieve rings hollow.

Facebook’s power brings up one clear problem: Zuckerberg’s tight grip on the board of directors, and therefore on the company’s strategy and actions. But Hughes gives only momentary attention to the company’s governance structure, noting that the CEO controls about 60 percent of its voting shares.

 

Hughes makes no call to end Facebook’s ownership structure, which is the cause of that imbalance of power. Facebook has two classes of stock. One of the purposes of stock ownership is to give investors a say in the way a company is governed. That’s done through the board and through proxy votes by individual and institutional investors. In Facebook’s case, Class A shares are issued to the latter; they are worth one vote per share. Class B shares are controlled by Zuckerberg and a small group of investors and insiders; they are worth 10 votes per share. Zuckerberg controls the majority of Class B shares.

This structure, known as dual-class stock, has become more common in recent years as a way to give founders and investors greater control of their companies, even after they go public. Proponents of the multi-class approach sometimes claim that the structure helps executives focus on long-term growth, but critics see it as a way to avoid oversight even after a company goes public. When Google went public in 2004 (with a two-class structure), co-founder Larry Page wrote in an investor’s letter that the express purpose of that structure was to “make it harder for outside parties to take over or influence Google.”

__________ me – This is not what people buy stock for – it defeats the whole concept of owning stock.  This may also create a crisis in ownership  _______________ 

There was a time when public companies had a responsibility to the actual public—the citizens. They were chartered with the general interest in mind, not just the benefit of owners and shareholders. But after financialization made going public a matter of concern for speculators, even the financial markets themselves have begun to hold multi-class stock in suspicion. The social-media company Snap tried to orchestrate an IPO that would give its founders a massive majority control. Dropbox, BlueApron, and others did likewise. These and other examples caused some of the biggest global stock indexes, like S&P Dow Jones and FTSE Russell, to start making plans to exclude multi-class companies with limited investor input. Given that many institutional and individual investors buy into index funds like the S&P 500 automatically, such as change would limit the target companies’ reach on the public exchanges.

Despite the long-standing debate about dual-class share structures, especially in the tech sector, Hughes makes no call to end dual- or multi-class structures at Facebook or elsewhere. And yet, that change is probably the only way to inject oversight on behalf of both the investors and the general public. Large, institutional investors have been calling for Zuckerberg’s ouster for some time, and a restructured Facebook might make that change possible. If Hughes is right that Zuckerberg’s influence is “staggering, far beyond that of anyone else in the private sector or in government,” then he ought to make a strong case for ending that reign directly.

_____me – Z controls a company that CREATE policies which whole COUNTRIES have had to consider and adapt to. If THAT isn’t influence then what is?_____________

As a “scholarship kid” from North Carolina who left Facebook early and divested his interest in the company after the 2012 IPO—he was worth more than $400 million in 2016—Hughes’s down-home appeal is palpable all throughout the editorial. He comes across as an earnest and humane, in contrast to Zuckerberg, whom he calls “a good, kind person” but implies is a devious, untrustworthy scoundrel, by the spirit of the piece.

The article is accompanied by remarkable images of Hughes and Zuckerberg over the years. The two as boys, really, at Harvard, with juvenile haircuts, ill-fitting prep clothes, and outmoded laptops, or as still impossibly young men soon after Facebook’s founding. “I take responsibility for not sounding the alarm earlier,” Hughes writes, acknowledging both his college-kid ignorance and his dumb luck in falling into Facebook in the first place.

But Hughes misses an opportunity to make a meaningful lesson of himself in the process. He says nothing to deter the next generations of computationalists—and there are absolute hordes of them now—from seeing Zuckerberg as an aspirational figure rather than a reprobate. Nor does he encourage the next generation of technologists to seek out a greater depth of knowledge and context for solving problems with computers, a pursuit that might have helped Hughes when he was working on News Feed and other features of the Facebook service.

In this regard, Hughes also badly misconstrues a critique he attributes to a former Facebook investor, Don Graham, who he writes “has accused those who criticize the company now as having as having ‘all the courage of the last man leaping on the pile at a football game.’” This criticism applies not just to Hughes but also to WhatsApp founder Brian Acton, who called for people to delete their Facebook accounts; the early Facebook investor Roger McNamee, who wrote a best-selling book about how terrible Facebook is; and koan artist Tristan Harris, who has been peddling the zen derived from a “time well spent” with technology after leaving Google.

Hughes objects to Graham’s barb, saying “anyone suggesting that Facebook is akin to a pinned football player misrepresents its resilience and power.” But that’s not what Graham was getting at. His censure holds that people who got lucky by accident, did little in the moment to rein in their bad power, and now feel bad about the outcomes are untrustworthy voices after the fact. “Mark Zuckerberg cannot fix Facebook, but our government can,” Hughes writes. But Facebook has also broken our government, and countless others around the world. A wealthy, influential detractor who is also a former insider is a welcome ally for those who wish for the end of the Facebook era. But alas, it is not enough.

 

In fact, that Hughes would be considered an important figure to deliver this critique is a symptom of the illness he himself diagnoses. His is a well-written and even a bold take, given the limited expectations the public has come to assume of tech magnates. But the star treatment the Times gave it — complete with custom video — wouldn’t have been afforded to all the other critics of Facebook and related companies, who have been beating this drum for years, if not decades.

Overall, Hughes’s opinion piece sets the same trap that technology does in general. If you find his censure satisfying and substantial, you are probably a Pollyanna, willing to imagine that tech can self-regulate, or if not that it can be persuaded to do good for the public that it has mostly treated as raw material to be turned into profit. But if you do not, then you become an unsatisfiable antagonist, satisfied by nothing. Either you “like” my ideas in public, or you withdraw into the shadows of ignorance. Either you share (repost, retweet) someone’s content, or you bury it in the oblivion of deep scrolling.

This, as it happens, is the kind of false choice the age of social media has imbued upon everything, a caricature of debate, a lampoon of discourse—mistaking the fact of a thing for its virtue, and its affect for its effect.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

IAN BOGOST is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and the Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology. His latest book is Play Anything.

Apple (the Blob) buys any and ALL competition- when are the anti trust laws going to be modernized?

May 6, 2019

The company is acting worse than STANDISH oil back when these laws were written up.

The people have been so dehumanized that no one can make the case to modernize laws against MONOPOLIES?

The dumb down masses have no backbone because the brains have been convoluted.

Some of these little companies could have flourished and became real competition, which is, of course, the reason they were swallowed up.  Kill the competition by buying it.

These companies receive TAX subsidies and also brokered deals with Government contracts.  Which CENTRALIZES resources without actually calling it that.  The gov didn’t BUY them or acquire them but none the less, it’s the same

Apple has bought more than 20 companies since November, but we know about only 6 of them

Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that Apple has bought 20 to 25 companies in the past six months.
Stephen Lam/Getty

 

  • Apple has acquired 20 to 25 companies in the past six months, CEO Tim Cook told CNBC on Monday.
  • At that rate, the popular electronics company has bought a new company every two to three weeks.
  • But most of those acquisitions have been kept on the down-low, and many from the past six months haven’t been announced.
  • Read more stories on the Business Insider homepage.

Apple has bought 20 to 25 companies in the past six months, according to CEO Tim Cook, but you probably haven’t heard about most of them.

Cook’s disclosure came during an interview with CNBC on Monday, in which he said the company mostly acquires for talent and intellectual property. He said that Apple buys a new company every two to three weeks on average.

Among those 20-plus acquisitions is Apple’s December purchase of Platoon, a startup that works directly with musicians to produce and distribute their work. In March, Apple reportedly acquired an application-programming-interface-development startup called Stamplay.

 

But there are at least 14 Apple acquisitions unaccounted for.

Given Apple’s market cap of $952 billion, most acquisitions the company makes are too small to be materially consequential, which means Apple doesn’t have to disclose the purchases or any information about the buying process.

Here are the Apple acquisitions since November that we know about:

The company has $225 billion in cash and securities on its balance sheet, according to its most recent earnings, which makes Apple one of the most cash-rich enterprises in tech. It also means Apple has a lot opportunities and incentive to spend.

 

But unlike the tech giant IBM, which spent $34 billion on Red Hat, or SAP, which spent $8 billion on its acquisition of Qualtrics, Apple hasn’t historically bet the farm on big deals.

Some of Apple’s big acquisitions in the past include its $400 million purchase of Shazam in 2017 and its $3 billion acquisition of Beats in 2014, but M&A of that scope are few and far between.

Do you know which 20 to 25 companies Apple acquired in the past six months? We want to know more. Contact the author at bpeterson@businessinsider.com or DM her on Twitter if you have more information about Apple’s M&A habits.

https://www.businessinsider.com/apple-14-or-more-mystery-acquisitions-6-months-2019-5

 


Global companies are quasi- monopolies- Alan Patricof: Facebook, Amazon, and Google are too powerful

March 31, 2019

Global companies are bigger than monopolies.  Traditionally, a monopoly was considered large that captured an industry in a country.  Now, we have Global companies, which are so large that the monopolies of old are dwarfs in comparison.  Anti-trust laws never checked them because there are a few companies in each country, but they are the SAME companies IN all of the countries.  They have no competition and only psudo compete in cut out spaces.  Anti -Trust should be updated to reflect the new type of Global GRAFT

These companies form a Global Communist model.  They ARE the centralization of resources and distribute these goods according to those who need their wares according to their beliefs about the needs of those people or industries.

These companies effectively run the governments they occupy becoming the emperors in their own rights.  And now they are few and in charge of the MANY countries that DEAL with them. The OLIGARCHS of the world.  They collaborate / collude / conspire in many centralized organizations created BY them for the purpose of RULING the countries that BUY in to the lie that they are somehow sovereign.

 

Prominent VC Alan Patricof: Facebook, Amazon, and Google are too powerful

JP Mangalindan

Chief Tech Correspondent
Yahoo Finance
Alan Patricof joins Influencers with Andy Serwer

In a new interview with Yahoo Finance, venture capital pioneer Alan Patricof contends big tech companies such as Facebook (FB), Google (GOOGGOOGL), and Amazon (AMZN) have become too powerful for their own good.

“Some people might even call them quasi-monopolies,” Patricof said during an interview with Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer that aired Thursday afternoon. “You know, our definition of what’s a monopoly and what’s anti-competitive maybe has to change from what it was in the early 1900s, when we passed the original acts to protect businesses against competition against monopolies.”

As one of private equity’s earliest venture capitalists in the U.S., Patricof has a comprehensive knowledge of technology that spans hundreds of investments over several decades, including Apple (AAPL), AOL, Venmo, and the online men’s styling service Trunk Club, which Nordstrom (JWN) acquired in 2014.

Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft Partners LLC, speaks during a Bloomberg Television in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. Patricof said the carried interest tax 'loophole' should be closed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images

View photos
Alan Patricof, co-founder of Greycroft Partners LLC, speaks during a Bloomberg Television in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. Patricof said the carried interest tax ‘loophole’ should be closed. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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Patricof, founder and managing director of Greycroft, is not alone in wondering whether big tech companies are approaching monopoly status by cornering their respective markets and moving to squash competition. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the Democratic presidential candidates for 2020, has said if elected, her administration would move to break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google, arguing in a Medium post this March that the companies have been “throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up even potential competitors.”

Walking a fine line

Patricof walks a fine line weighing in further on Google, Facebook and Amazon’s growth and maneuvering, suggesting these big tech companies didn’t intend to become monopolies.

“I am concerned about the impact of the element of Google, Facebook, Amazon and the potential monopolistic positions they have taken — not because they set out to do it,” Patricof added. “I mean, in the 1900s, the robber barons started out to be monopolies to control things. I don’t think that’s the nature. They just have grown because their business has grown, just like a lot of private equity firms and venture firms have grown, because there’s so much money out there.”

But over the last 12 months, government officials have scrutinized these tech companies and their size. Republican senator Lindsey Graham from South Carolina even went so far as to ask CEO Mark Zuckerberg during a Senate committee hearing last April whether Facebook was, indeed, a monopoly. (Long story short: Zuckerberg denied Facebook is one, but had difficulty identifying the social network’s biggest competitor.)

Facebook's founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reacts as he speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

View photos
Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg reacts as he speaks at the Viva Tech start-up and technology summit in Paris, France, May 24, 2018. REUTERS/Charles Platiau
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Google, whose core business is also advertising, controlled nearly 37% of all digital ad sales in the U.S. in 2018, far ahead of Facebook, its nearest competitor, according to eMarketer. This March, the European Union ordered Google to pay $1.7 billion for abusing its dominance and imposing unfair exclusivity rules with some websites. (Google dropped those particular contracts with sites in 2016 once the EU stepped up its investigation into the matter.)

With Amazon, there is no shortage of brick and mortar and online retailers that have struggled (or shuttered) due at least in part to the Seattle tech giant’s dominance. According to forecasts from FTI Consulting last fall, Amazon’s U.S. e-commerce market share was 39.7% in 2018 and is expected to reach 50% by 2023. Earlier this month, Amazon decided to stop telling third-party sellers on its platform they could not offer lower prices on competing websites, according to a CNBC report — a move that followed a letter from Richard Blumenthal, a Democratic senator from Connecticut, who argued the practice would “stifle market competition and artificially inflate prices.

Regardless, there’s still more runway for Amazon, which has made an aggressive push in more recent years into physical retail, opening book stores and acquiring Whole Foods in 2017. To that end, the Seattle tech giant accounted for just 5% of the overall U.S. digital and offline retail market last year, according to eMarketer. Amazon also faces increasing competition from brick and mortar retailers like Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT), which have successfully expanded their online and in-store pick-up options.

As these big tech companies have grown, so have their ambitions, obviously, with aggressive expansion into new areas, including hardware, original content, and physical retail.

“I think, though, these companies are feeding on themselves and growing and getting bigger and bigger, and they’ve got to find places to deploy their profits, so they go into more businesses,” explained Patricof. “They have more data available, and I think it’s a concern that others have expressed besides me.”

Certainly it’s an area that will continue to be scrutinized as lawmakers move to draft and strengthen rules protecting user privacy in the years to come.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/alan-patricof-google-facebook-amazon-111457565.html

 


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