Here’s what you need to know:
Recognition…through the New York Attorney General
The U.S. government and more than 40 states sued Facebook on Wednesday for illegally killing competitors and calling on the company to reverse the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions.
Here are five key questions about the case answered:
1) What’s the argument from the government and Facebook?
There’s a legal reason Instagram and WhatsApp are at the center of state and federal lawsuits. Trying to reduce competition by buying from competitors is an explicit violation of American antitrust laws. This is exactly what government attorneys say Facebook did and will continue to do.
The difficult thing, however, is that the government gave Facebook permission to buy Instagram and WhatsApp in 2012 and 2014. Facebook argues that it is unfair for government officials to try a revision now, and that Facebook has made Instagram and WhatsApp better than you could have been alone.
2) How do the lawsuits affect people who use Facebook?
Such lawsuits can take years to resolve. Your experience with Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger will not suddenly be different tomorrow.
The more immediate ramifications of this legal battle could be subtle changes to these social apps as Facebook keeps an eye on its legal proceedings.
Facebook is already working to make messaging functions in multiple apps more seamlessly merge behind the scenes, which could make separation difficult. It is also possible that Facebook withholds new acquisitions or changes functions in development so as not to violate the company’s legal arguments.
3) Relatives: Will This Hold Facebook Back?
In an interview last year, Bill Gates said that his company’s Windows – and not Google’s Android – could have been the world’s most popular smartphone system if Microsoft hadn’t been “distracted” from the government’s 1998 antitrust proceedings. Gates reflected a shared view of corporate executives at the time that the lawsuits made Microsoft more cautious and, as a result, the company missed opportunities to break new ground.
It is possible that Facebook will change its behavior because it has been bogged down in legal proceedings or is concerned about looking like bullies.
4) Why is this happening now?
The government is suing Facebook after years of not restricting its power and because there is now a political will to do so.
The Federal Trade Commission is the same government agency that was denounced last year for pulling a manageable fine from Facebook and calling for changes to the company’s privacy policies with uncertain benefits for those of us who use the company’s apps. The same agency approved the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions.
What is changing now is that elected officials and other members of the government are united in their frustration with America’s tech superpowers and are more willing to call for sweeping changes.
5) what happens next?
People seeking to transform these businesses, the Internet, and the American economy sometimes see antitrust lawsuits as a general solution. But cartel cases, even if successful, will not necessarily address all of the various and sometimes inconsistent ailments that many people have.
No matter what happens to the Facebook case, there is no going back to more carefree times for the tech giants. In world capitals, in courtrooms, and in public, we struggle with what it means for a handful of wealthy tech companies to affect our lives, our choices, our economies, and our spirits.
Recognition…Frank Augstein / Associated Press
As the UK approaches yet another new deadline to close a trade deal with the European Union on Sunday, the pound ends its worst week in three months. It fell significantly against the euro on Thursday and further back on Friday as traders struggled with the prospect that UK trade talks with the European Union could really fail.
“The markets tend to think, as long as they talk there is hope. I was very careful, ”said Jane Foley, a strategist at Rabobank. “There may not be a deal, but there will be disruption even if there is a deal. And there will be political disputes. ”
All of this is bad for the currency.
In just under three weeks, the Brexit transition period ends, and if no agreement is reached, the UK will be forced to do business with its largest trading partner on World Trade Organization terms, which means tariffs will be put in place on goods and there is less chance of future ones Cooperation between service companies. So far, three issues – fishing rights, business competition rules and enforcing an agreement – have stalled talks.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson went to Brussels to dine on Wednesday evening with the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to try to break the impasse. By the time the fish dinner was over, there were reports that the prospects for a deal were even bleak. A new deadline has been set for Sunday.
On Thursday, the European Commission then presented its plans for what it would do if there was no agreement. And Mr Johnson said an agreement was “not in place” and that there was a “strong possibility” of not reaching an agreement.
The continued optimism of the financial markets has been tested many times. Countless Brexit deadlines have come and gone. This time around, however, there is serious concern about how an agreement, if an agreement is reached, could be ratified into law before January 1st. The UK Parliament is preparing plans to work by Christmas, but the European Union will have a harder time rallying 27 nations during the holiday season.
This week was the worst for the pound since early September when traders were terrified that Boris Johnson was foiling a trade deal by introducing a new law that clashed with the EU withdrawal agreement and violated international law.
Even before the end of the transition period, the UK was given a glimpse of the type of disruption that happens when trading isn’t going smoothly when Honda shut its assembly plant in England this week because parts got stuck in transit.
The economic impact of further trade disruptions in the new year after customs controls begin will weigh on the UK economy Try to scrape out a recovery during a second wave of the pandemic. Thursday’s data showed that gross domestic product rose 0.4 percent in October, a slowdown before England put a month-long lockdown in November.
Lululemon on Thursday reported $ 1.1 billion in sales for the third quarter, up 22 percent year over year as shoppers bought leggings and other exercise equipment to help them stay comfortable and in shape while working from home . In North America, net sales increased 19 percent. Direct sales to consumers – including online sales – increased 94 percent.
Walmart is preparing more than 5,000 of its stores to receive vaccine doses so they’ll be ready to distribute the shots once they get regulatory approval and become available. The retailer said in a statement Thursday that it would ensure there are enough freezers and dry ice to store the vaccine and prepare to get the vaccine through its Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, as well as in long-term care facilities like nursing homes to distribute. The company will rely on state governments to direct its sales efforts.
With economic recovery stalling and federal aid stalling in Washington, state governments are trying to help small businesses weather the pandemic winter.
Colorado lawmakers held a special session last week to pass an economic aid package. Ohio is offering a new round of grants for restaurants, bars, and other businesses affected by the pandemic. And in California, a new fund will use state money to stop hundreds of millions of dollars in personal loans. Other states, led by Republicans and Democrats, have announced or are considering similar measures.
Efforts come as many companies find themselves in an increasingly difficult situation, reports Ben Casselman of the New York Times.
A survey by the National Federation of Independent Business on Tuesday found that optimism is sinking and uncertainty is mounting as the nationwide surge in coronavirus cases is pushing governments to reintroduce restrictions and consumers to cut their spending. Separate data from the Census Bureau shows that more and more small businesses are shedding jobs, and other surveys have found that large numbers of businesses are at risk of failure.
If so, it could be a disaster for both national economies and national budgets. Local businesses are important sources of tax revenue – both directly and through their employees – and important drivers of economic activity. If they fail in large numbers, it will slow economic recovery once the pandemic is over.