‘Bias’ Female FTC Boss Slammed Over Microsoft Activision Decision, As Her Anti Tech Losses Mount
A decision by a US Judge to reject a Federal Trade Commission ruling that a Microsoft Activision deal would hurt consumers, by giving Xbox game console-maker Microsoft exclusive access to games including the best-selling “Call of Duty”, has seriously exposed the bias to big tech Companies being shown by Lina Khan claim US observers.
The chair of the Federal Trade Commission who is now throwing money at appealing the decision, in what is seen more as a face-saving move for the left leaning Khan who appears to hate anything in the tech world that is successful claim US Republicans.
Khan and the agency suffered a major defeat when a San Francisco based federal judge overruled the commission’s decision to block Microsoft’s looming $69 billion takeover of video game company Activision Blizzard.
The FTC had sought to ax the deal, saying it will hurt competition.
U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley said the deal, the largest in the history of the tech industry, deserved scrutiny but the FTC hadn’t shown that it would cause serious harm.
Khan is a well-known tech critic who took over as the head of the FTC in 2021.
Her nomination was seen as a signal from the Biden administration that it would be tough on technology companies as they have been under intense pressure from other regulators and state attorneys general.
Overnight Khan faced more than three hours of criticism and ridicule as US politicians at a US House hearing increasingly put pressure on the agency which some claim is being manipulated by Khan, who is seen as being “desperate” to crackdown on what she claims growing power of tech giants.
During the highly charged hearing committee members accused Khan, 34, who has carried out an aggressive agenda of lawsuits and investigations against tech companies, of “harassing” businesses.
At one stage she was ridiculed for the F.T.C.’s recent losses in antitrust cases and for wasting government resources.
“You are now 0 for 4 in merger trials,” Representative Kevin Kiley, Republican of California, said at the House Judiciary Committee hearing. “Why are you losing so much?”
This week U.S. District Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley in San Francisco rejected the Biden administration’s contention that the deal would hurt consumers and that riled Khan who is seen as being hostile to big tech in particular Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon, Google and Facebook.
Sitting grim faced Khan tried to defend her aggressive legal strategy toward the country’s biggest technology companies as House committee members pointed out that the agency has become overzealous and politicized under President Joe Biden.
The New York Post reported that Republicans claimed that Lina Khan is “harassing” Twitter since its acquisition by Elon Musk, arbitrarily suing large tech companies and declining to recuse herself from certain cases.
In April, the committee subpoenaed Khan after an investigation by the panel that concluded the agency went after Musk for political reasons.
Khan pushed back on the criticism, arguing that more regulation is necessary as the companies have grown and that tech conglomeration could hurt the economy and consumers.
“Our competition mission is driven by the tenet that vigorous antitrust enforcement is critical to the growth and dynamism of our economy, as well as to our shared prosperity and liberty,” Khan said. “Recent decades, however, have vividly illustrated how Americans lose out when markets become more consolidated and less competitive.”
This is not the first time that a Khan led initiative has come unstuck earlier this year she failed to stop Meta from taking over the virtual reality fitness company Within Unlimited.
“Are you losing on purpose?” asked Rep. Kevin Kiley, a California Republican, citing a past comment from Khan that suggested courtroom losses would signal to Congress that it needs to update its antitrust laws.
“Absolutely not,” Khan replied, while acknowledging that “unfortunately, things don’t always go our way.”
Khan is arguing that more regulation is necessary as the companies have grown and that tech conglomeration could hurt the economy and consumers.
Khan argues that more regulation is necessary as the companies have grown and that tech conglomeration could hurt the economy and consumers. There was no mention of the tens of billions that Companies such as Amazon, Microsoft or Google contribute to the US economy from their overseas operations.
“Shame on you,” Issa said. “The reality is we’re a global market, and you are thinking only of who you want to go after for some reason, and I cannot find your logic.”
The FTC which many claim is now being manipulated by Khan and Biden supporters sued Amazon for allegedly engaging in a yearslong effort to enrol consumers without consent into Amazon Prime and making it difficult for them to cancel their subscriptions.
In a complaint filed in federal court last month, the agency accused Amazon of using deceptive designs, known as “dark patterns,” to deceive consumers into enrolling in the service.
In addition, Khan and other FTC officials have repeatedly warned they will also crack down on harmful business practices involving artificial intelligence, in messages partly directed at the developers of widely used AI tools such as ChatGPT.
However, it is the FTC’s actions toward Twitter, which the agency has been investigating as part of ongoing oversight into the social media company’s privacy and cybersecurity practices.
The GOP lawmakers noted that the agency probe included efforts recently to obtain Musk’s internal communications and information about journalists.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said that Khan’s oversight of Twitter seems like an “obsession.”
Khan is a well-known tech critic when she took over the agency in 2021. Her nomination was seen as a signal from the Biden administration that it would be tough on technology companies as they have been under intense pressure from other regulators and state attorneys general.
She was a professor at Columbia University Law School and became known for her scholarly work in 2017 as a Yale law student, “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” That work helped lay the foundation for a new way of looking at antitrust law beyond the impact of big-company market dominance on consumer prices.
What do you think? Be the first to comment.
And she has experience with the Judiciary committee, having served as a counsel to the panel’s antitrust subcommittee in 2019 and 2020. In that position she played a key role in a sweeping bipartisan investigation of the market power of the tech giants.
Jordan’s House Judiciary panel has gone after the tech companies, as well, for what Republicans say is censorship of conservatives. The committee subpoenaed the chief executives of the five largest tech companies in February as part of an effort to investigate Big Tech’s moderation of content.