The White House confirmed its FTC appointee, and she’s coming for Big Tech

Biden’s choice for FTC commissioner is a young antitrust hardliner with a deep resume who could spell trouble for Big Tech.

March 24, 2021

From 1980 through 2019, the top 5 stocks in the S&P 500 averaged 13% of the index’s total market value. Today’s top 5 — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — represent over 20%.

That could soon change.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration confirmed plans to appoint antitrust scholar Lina Khan to a commissioner role at the FTC.

Biden wants to properly execute antitrust regulation…

… because last time things didn’t go so well.

Per Politico, the FTC made made poor predictions about Google’s future during a 2012 antitrust probe, including:

  • Limited growth in personalized ads
  • Consumer preference toward desktop over mobile
  • Search competition from Microsoft, Mozilla, and Amazon

Today, ads account for much of Google’s revenue, ~62% of searches happen on mobile, and Google maintains a ~92% market share.

Khan doesn’t plan on making the same mistakes

At just 32 years old, Khan’s antitrust resume is deep:

  • Her paper “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox” is widely cited among antitrust experts
  • She teaches antitrust law at Columbia Law School, was an FTC fellow for Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and was the director of legal policy at the Open Markets Institute

If confirmed, Khan would likely up the chances of the FTC taking antitrust action soon. The agency previously filed a suit against Facebook and has reportedly been investigating Amazon for years.

But not everyone has approved, including Sen. Mike Lee, who cited Khan being just 4 years out of law school, and NetChoice — a tech trade group.

Among the group’s members: Amazon, Facebook, and… Google.

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