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The threat level rose for Big Tech in Washington over the weekend, as U.S. antitrust regulators reportedly took steps toward greater scrutiny for Google and Amazon.

Why it matters: These moves could set the table for the kind of long-running antitrust cases that can sap company resources, result in embarrassing legal discovery and depositions, and, in the most extreme scenarios, lead to corporate breakups.

Details:

  1. The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have agreed to split up efforts to investigate charges of monopolistic practices by Google and Amazon. DOJ got Google, FTC got Amazon, per the Washington Post and Bloomberg.
  2. DOJ is preparing to launch an investigation into some of Google's practices, per the Wall Street Journal.

Between the lines: It's not uncommon for the agencies to negotiate over who gets to vet which companies and markets, and the move might be a sign of real interest in pursuing the two firms.

  • The FTC had already signaled its intention to look at tech giants with a new task force. What's new is its claim over Amazon.

Yes, but: Claiming the jurisdiction to investigate a company or launching an investigation remains multiple steps away from filing an actual antitrust lawsuit.

The bottom line: There are already numerous investigations into Big Tech, and hundreds of lawmakers are grappling with how to regulate it around the world. A U.S. antitrust case against either Google or Amazon would nonetheless be game changing — if it materializes.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists — National standardized tests delayed until 2022.
  5. Cities: Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. World: London police arrest dozens during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
8 hours ago - Economy & Business

The unicorn stampede is coming

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Airbnb and DoorDash plan to go public in the next few weeks, capping off a very busy year for IPOs.

What's next: You ain't seen nothing yet.

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