🕶e8: Lawsuit for you! Lawsuit for you! Lawsuit for you!
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📝 Lawsuit for you! Lawsuit for you! Lawsuit for you! Man, the tech giants have been feeling the heat lately! Back in October, Google got slapped with a big antitrust case by the Justice Department, and just this past week Facebook was bing sued again by the FTC, as well as by 46 other states… Get it together, guys! While Google was cited for anti-competitive tactics to preserve a monopoly for its flagship search engine and related advertising business, Facebook was accused of buying and freezing out small startups to choke competition. Although these cases have been filed by different entities of the executive branch, their missions seem aligned - stopping the big tech monopoly. Let’s take a closer look!
This isn’t Google’s first antitrust rodeo. They were already one of the biggest tech companies in Silicon Valley when they were hit with their first suit in 2012. Since then, they’ve tripled in market value to almost $1 trillion. Again, they will probably come out of this quite unscathed. Google pours billions of dollars they collect from paid advertisements on their platforms to further their dominance effect by continuing to invest in mobile carriers, manufactures, and browsers to maintain their service as the default preset on all users’ devices.
Facebook has been preparing for this… Last year, the company was under attack for consumer privacy violations, reaching a $5 billion settlement with the FTC for their actions. Did this change anything? Probably not by much. The arguments around Facebook are centered on their collection of user data, and using their financial capital to leverage buying companies rather than competing against them. It does make sense though - why would Facebook worry about competing with WhatsApp they could instead (and did) just buy them? This does make competition for new messaging startups to scale extremely difficult, as WhatsApp has over 1 billion DAU (“Daily Active Users”). I feel like a lot of this is cyclical, and it’s hard to make any headway when these companies have billions of capital, and an infantry of lawyers at their disposal.
Well, we all know who’s making the money here… Lawyers, lol. But forreal, I don’t see how any of these companies are gonna back down without a huge fight. Earlier this year, we saw Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple get grilled by the house committee after completing their 16-month probe. No immediate actions were taken against the tech giants exposing some of the power that tech might have in areas including as politics. Although the recent actions taken by legislatures might be in effect, it will still likely take years to arrive at some sort of real resolution.
The FTC and states can't simply force changes on companies’ business models; rather, the FTC and states will have to first definitively prove that these companies violated antri-trust laws and need to change. Proving this is even more difficult is when most of these companies have acquired other businesses. The FTC approved the acquisitions, and now must go back and find actual reasons as to how those acquisitions violated antitrust regulations (I’m no lawyer but this seems like one big unsolvable mess).
All in all, I personally am not affected by these large monopolies and actually believe these companies are indispensable to the billions of us consumers who would not otherwise have access to many of the essential resources we use daily free of cost. It’s often hard to realize how fortunate we are to have the services these companies offer since that has helped many businesses emerge and connected people with infinite information, available at the touch of our fingertips. It’s actually mind blowing. So, before you go scrutinizing these companies for their monopolistic practices, think about having to pay for a Google search, or sliding into your next chick's dms...(weird how the world works).
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💯Thank You For Reading, See You Next Week!
What's up, my name is Evan Hiltunen! I am a recent finance grad from Indiana University and financial analyst @ Goldman Sachs. I have a strong passion for start-ups, finance, and technology, and I hope you find this newsletter informative!
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