Feb 27, 2019

FTC targets tech with new antitrust team

"Man Controlling Trade" statue at the FTC headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo: Carol M. Highsmith/Buyenlarge/Getty Images

The Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday it was setting up a task force that could review already-approved tech mergers.

Why it matters: It reflects a new level of federal scrutiny for a tech sector dominated by companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon — each of which made major acquisitions along the way to becoming a giant.

Details:

  • The agency said the group of lawyers will monitor "competition in U.S. technology markets, investigating any potential anticompetitive conduct in those markets, and taking enforcement actions when warranted."
  • It also said the move would include "prospective merger reviews in the technology sector and reviews of consummated technology mergers," raising the possibility that earlier Silicon Valley deals could come under the microscope again.

Yes, but: The FTC has been criticized as not doing enough to check corporate power to occur, and regulators are constrained by U.S. antitrust law that makes it hard to accuse a company of hurting competition with a free product.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

America's economy won't reopen anytime soon, despite frantic CEO whispers, but a glimmer of hope may be emerging in the form of serological testing.

Why it matters: Serologic tests aren't to determine whether or not you're infected with coronavirus. They are to determine if you have potential immunity that could allow you to safely return to work.

Government tech struggles to dole out coronavirus stimulus cash

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Tech challenges are hampering federal and state government efforts to get funds from the $2 trillion coronavirus relief law into the hands of newly unemployed workers and struggling small businesses who need it.

Why it matters: Many businesses and individuals need the money now for essentials, including meeting payroll and paying rent.

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll passes 9,600

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the novel coronavirus surpassed 9,600 in the U.S. on Monday, per Johns Hopkins data. More than 1,000 people in the U.S. have died of coronavirus-related conditions each day since April 1.

Why it matters: U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on Sunday the coming week will be "the hardest and saddest week of most Americans' lives" — calling it our "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."

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