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Europe to Investigate Amazon’s Dual Role of Merchant and Platform

For many independent merchants who sell their goods on Amazon, there has long been deep concern that if the e-commerce giant saw a particular product selling well, the company would duplicate it, but at a lower price.The European Union’s antitrust chief said on Wednesday that there may be reason for worry.Margrethe Vestager, the bloc’s competition commissioner, announced the start of an investigation into whether Amazon is unfairly using data collected about third-party sellers to make its own decisions about products to sell — information that would give it a potentially anticompetitive edge.The announcement keeps Europe at the center of a debate about how to regulate global technology…

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F.T.C. Hearings Add to Efforts That Threaten Tech Industry

WASHINGTON — For years, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple have fought regulators in Europe on privacy, antitrust and taxes. In the United States, the tech titans were on friendly terrain.But on Thursday, the Federal Trade Commission kicked off a series of hearings to discuss whether the agency’s competition and consumer protection policies should change to better reflect new technologies and companies.Joseph J. Simons, the agency’s chairman, expressed openness to a new approach.“The broad antitrust consensus that has existed within the antitrust community, in relatively stable form for the last 25 years, is being challenged,” Mr. Simons said. “I approach all these issues with a very open mind,…

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Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea

Ms. Khan disagreed. Over 93 heavily footnoted pages, she presented the case that the company should not get a pass on anticompetitive behavior just because it makes customers happy. Once-robust monopoly laws have been marginalized, Ms. Khan wrote, and consequently Amazon is amassing structural power that lets it exert increasing control over many parts of the economy.Amazon has so much data on so many customers, it is so willing to forgo profits, it is so aggressive and has so many advantages from its shipping and warehouse infrastructure that it exerts an influence much broader than its market share. It resembles the all-powerful railroads of the Progressive Era,…

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Judge in AT&T Case Ignored ‘Economics and Common Sense,’ Government Says

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department on Monday laid out its case against a federal court’s approval of the AT&T and Time Warner merger, criticizing a judge for “erroneously ignoring fundamental principles of economics and common sense.”The argument, made to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, is the start of the government’s second attempt to stop the $85.4 billion deal. The Justice Department lost its case in June, and AT&T and Time Warner, the owner of CNN and HBO, have since hurried to stich their operations together.Legal experts say the government faces high hurdles to win its appeal. If it does, the companies…

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State of the Art: Stumbles? What Stumbles? Big Tech Is as Strong as Ever

Regulatory pressure isn’t having a huge impactThe European Union recently fined Google $5.1 billion for abusing its mobile software monopoly, which followed a $2.7 billion fine last year for abuse of its search monopoly. (Google is appealing both decisions.) Apple agreed last year to pay nearly $16 billion in back taxes to the European Union over its cozy tax deal with Ireland. (The funds will be held in escrow while Ireland appeals the decision; Apple has disputed any wrongdoing.) Facebook, which has been hauled before lawmakers in Europe and the United States for its role in politics, faces threats of increased regulation and possible fines for mishandling…

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NXP’s Chief Criticizes China After Qualcomm Deal Collapses

SAN FRANCISCO — The finger-pointing over the scuttled $44 billion transaction between the chip makers Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors has begun.Richard Clemmer, chief executive of NXP, had some harsh words on Thursday for officials in China over the deal’s collapse amid a trade war between Washington and Beijing. The acquisition was terminated after it failed to secure regulatory approval from Chinese authorities before a deadline set by the companies at midnight Eastern time on Wednesday.In an interview on Thursday, Mr. Clemmer said Chinese authorities gave no explanation for withholding approval for the transaction. He said that there were no government requirements or regulations that the deal did…

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As Qualcomm Deal Is Scrapped, China Denies Trade Link

Delays in China that led Qualcomm to call off its acquisition of a rival microchip maker had nothing to do with escalating trade tensions with the United States, a spokesman for the Chinese Commerce Ministry said on Thursday.Qualcomm and NXP Semiconductors first announced their $44 billion union nearly two years ago. Qualcomm is based in San Diego and NXP in the Netherlands, but both do significant business in China, which is why its antimonopoly authorities had say over whether the deal would go through.But as frictions between the United States and China intensified this year, Beijing’s prolonged antitrust review came to be seen as a form of…

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Tech Fix: What Europe’s Google Fine Means for Android Users

You may have heard that the European Union punished Google with a record $5.1 billion fine on Wednesday for abusing its power in the mobile phone market.Specifically, the authorities dinged Google on its practices with Android, the mobile operating system that the company provides to makers of devices. The size of the fine and the remedies that regulators ordered Google to make were consequential, both symbolically and in how handset manufacturers may incorporate Android into mobile devices in Europe in the future.But what does that mean for you if you own an Android phone? Here’s a rundown.What’s the problem?Android is one of the most prevalent mobile operating…

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Trump Tried to Protect Qualcomm. Now His Trade War May Be Hurting It.

More recently, after the Trump administration blocked the Broadcom bid, White House actions have been problematic for Qualcomm. In April, the administration issued an order preventing American companies from selling components to China’s ZTE after finding that ZTE violated United States sanctions involving North Korea and Iran. ZTE is a major Qualcomm customer.Mr. Trump later softened his stance toward ZTE, which agreed to changes. The Commerce Department removed ZTE from a list of proscribed customers on Friday, enabling Qualcomm to resume selling chips to the Chinese company.It’s unclear if China might now relent on NXP, or keep withholding approval of the deal to push back against the…

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E.U. Fines Google $5.1 Billion in Android Antitrust Case

The case has parallels to a similarly significant action against Microsoft in the early 2000s, when it was heavily penalized in Europe for using its power in the personal computer market to stamp out rivals. In a reversal of fortunes, Google, then a young upstart, was among those to complain about Microsoft’s practices at the time.The long-anticipated ruling arrived at a politically delicate period, with Europe and the United States engaged in an escalating trade conflict in which both sides have imposed tariffs on an array of products, from alcohol to aluminum. Last week, on a trip to Brussels, President Trump reiterated his complaints that American businesses…

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