Check out the Elections page on Straight Arrow News
Filed Under: Politics

Microsoft, Twitter in Lina Khan’s crosshairs in FTC’s Big Tech crackdown

By ,

The biggest tech deal in history is at risk over increased scrutiny by antitrust enforcers within the Federal Trade Commission, led by a 33-year-old legal scholar and prominent Big Tech critic. Chair Lina Khan has in her crosshairs Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and it’s not her only target. The agency is also reportedly looking into Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

Since President Joe Biden’s controversial appointment of Khan to head the FTC less than one year ago, Khan has been on a mission to rein in Big Tech. But even before her ascension to the chair, she was one of the most prominent voices calling for an end to Big Tech supremacy. Her first notable target was Amazon.

“This is actually also causing economic harm, a lot of the small businesses that are dependent on Amazon are terrified,” then-28-year-old Khan said in an interview with Fox Business.

Khan’s meteoric rise began in 2017 when a paper she wrote in the Yale Law Journal, Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox, went viral. Her own hardline antitrust positions detailed there began a new wave of antitrust enforcement as people adopted her views. And in just four years, Khan went from law school to counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee investigating Big Tech to Columbia Law professor to FTC chair. Now her opinions on mergers and monopolies carry even greater weight.

“Industry consolidation and weakened competition have denied Americans the benefits of an open economy, with workers, farmers, small businesses and consumers paying the price,” Khan said earlier this year.

“She has a very strong competence around this topic,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said.

Progressives may love Khan but tech giants are pushing back, accusing her of showing bias against Big Tech long before she was appointed head of the FTC. Facebook and Amazon have both previously requested Khan’s recusal from any cases or investigations related to the companies, questioning her ability to be objective in the role based on her previous statements.

“I think there’s good evidence that Amazon’s been abusing forms of its conflicts of interest that we should address as a society,” Khan said in 2017.

She has faced her fair share of pushback in politics, too. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said the FTC under Khan is launching “a progressive putsch to consolidate power and burden American businesses.” And the Wall Street Journal editorial board called Khan “a 32-year-old academic who has no experience running anything.”

Now nearly a year into the gig, it appears the criticism is rolling off Khan’s back, along with calls for recusal.

“We’re really showing these companies, but also showing the country, that enforcers are not going to back down because of these companies flexing some muscle or kind of trying to intimidate us,” Khan said during an exclusive interview with CNBC.

Khan’s philosophy is a big departure from the last two decades, when Big Tech gobbled up hundreds of smaller firms. But Biden is standing by her and her antitrust views, giving her the power, agenda and support to revise the landscape of American capitalism.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: SHE SPARKED A MOVEMENT WHEN HER YALE LAW JOURNAL PAPER BLASTING AMAZON – WENT VIRAL. HER HARDLINE ANTITRUST POSITIONS HAVE MADE HER BIG TECH ENEMY #1. AND NOW – AS CHAIR OF THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION – SHE HAS THE POWER TO BREAK THEM UP. WHICH MAKES LINA KHAN JUST ONE NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW.

EVEN BEFORE HER CONTROVERSIAL APPOINTMENT AT THE RECORD-BREAKING AGE OF 32, KHAN WAS KNOWN AS ONE OF THE MOST PROMINENT VOICES CALLING FOR AN END TO BIG TECH SUPREMACY.

LINA KHAN: this is actually also causing economic harm. A lot of the small businesses that are dependent on Amazon are terrified.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: HER RISE WAS METEORIC. IN JUST FOUR YEARS KHAN WENT FROM LAW SCHOOL TO COUNSEL TO THE HOUSE JUDICIARY SUBCOMMITTEE INVESTIGATING BIG TECH TO COLUMBIA LAW PROFESSOR TO FTC CHAIR…WHERE HER OPINIONS ON MONOPOLIES AND MERGERS CARRY ENORMOUS WEIGHT.

LINA KHAN: industry consolidation and weakened competition have denied americans the benefits of an open economy with workers farmers small businesses and consumers paying the price.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: PROGRESSIVES LOVE HER.

CONGRESSWOMAN PRAMILA JAYAPAL: she has a very strong competence around this topic :14

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: BUT TECH GIANTS ARE PUSHING BACK…

CNBC ANCHOR: Facebook is seeking the recusal of Lina Khan.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: ACCUSING KHAN OF SHOWING BIAS AGAINST BIG TECH LONG BEFORE HER ASCENSION TO THE CHAIR.

FOX BUSINESS ANCHOR: i’m reading between the lines you really want to go after them don’t you?

LINA KHAN: i think there’s good evidence that amazon’s been abusing forms of its conflicts of interest that we should address as a society.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: REPUBLICAN SENATOR MIKE LEE SAYS THE FTC UNDER KHAN IS LAUNCHING “A PROGRESSIVE PUTSCH” THAT’LL “BURDEN AMERICAN BUSINESSES.”

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL EDITORIAL BOARD CALLED KHAN “A 32-YEAR-OLD ACADEMIC WHO HAS NO EXPERIENCE RUNNING ANYTHING.”

CRITICISM ASIDE – KHAN’S MORE FOCUSED ON NEW MERGERS IN HER CROSS-HAIRS AND TECH LEADERS ARE GOING OUT OF THEIR WAY TO PLACATE HER.

ACTIVISION CEO BOBBY KOTICK: we’ve now seen more competition than ever before.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: BUT IS KHAN BUYING IT?  THE FTC RECENTLY ANNOUNCING PLANS TO REWRITE MERGER GUIDELINES TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF THE MODERN ECONOMY. KHAN’S PHILOSOPHY IS A BIG DEPARTURE FROM THE LAST TWO DECADES WHEN BIG TECH GOBBLED UP HUNDREDS OF SMALLER FIRMS BUT HER BOSS IS STANDING BY HER.

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Capitalism without competition is exploitation.

SIMONE DEL ROSARIO: LINA KHAN HAS THE POWER, THE AGENDA AND THE SUPPORT TO REVISE THE LANDSCAPE OF AMERICAN CAPITALISM, MAKING HER JUST ONE NAME YOU NEED TO KNOW.

The biggest tech deal in history is at risk over increased scrutiny by antitrust enforcers within the Federal Trade Commission, led by a 33-year-old legal scholar and prominent Big Tech critic. Chair Lina Khan has in her crosshairs Microsoft’s $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and it’s not her only target. The agency is also reportedly looking into Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover.

Since President Joe Biden’s controversial appointment of Khan to head the FTC less than one year ago, Khan has been on a mission to rein in Big Tech. But even before her ascension to the chair, she was one of the most prominent voices calling for an end to Big Tech supremacy. Her first notable target was Amazon.

“This is actually also causing economic harm, a lot of the small businesses that are dependent on Amazon are terrified,” then-28-year-old Khan said in an interview with Fox Business.

Khan’s meteoric rise began in 2017 when a paper she wrote in the Yale Law Journal, Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox, went viral. Her own hardline antitrust positions detailed there began a new wave of antitrust enforcement as people adopted her views. And in just four years, Khan went from law school to counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Subcommittee investigating Big Tech to Columbia Law professor to FTC chair. Now her opinions on mergers and monopolies carry even greater weight.

“Industry consolidation and weakened competition have denied Americans the benefits of an open economy, with workers, farmers, small businesses and consumers paying the price,” Khan said earlier this year.

“She has a very strong competence around this topic,” Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) said.

Progressives may love Khan but tech giants are pushing back, accusing her of showing bias against Big Tech long before she was appointed head of the FTC. Facebook and Amazon have both previously requested Khan’s recusal from any cases or investigations related to the companies, questioning her ability to be objective in the role based on her previous statements.

“I think there’s good evidence that Amazon’s been abusing forms of its conflicts of interest that we should address as a society,” Khan said in 2017.

She has faced her fair share of pushback in politics, too. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) said the FTC under Khan is launching “a progressive putsch to consolidate power and burden American businesses.” And the Wall Street Journal editorial board called Khan “a 32-year-old academic who has no experience running anything.”

Now nearly a year into the gig, it appears the criticism is rolling off Khan’s back, along with calls for recusal.

“We’re really showing these companies, but also showing the country, that enforcers are not going to back down because of these companies flexing some muscle or kind of trying to intimidate us,” Khan said during an exclusive interview with CNBC.

Khan’s philosophy is a big departure from the last two decades, when Big Tech gobbled up hundreds of smaller firms. But Biden is standing by her and her antitrust views, giving her the power, agenda and support to revise the landscape of American capitalism.

Related Reports


Get unbiased straight facts, context, and perspective!