California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

California attorney general Rob Bonta has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the e-tailer has managed to bend competition and pricing to its will. Only about 25 million of Amazon’s 147 million U.S. customers are domiciled in California, but if the measure succeeds it could impact regulations across the country and across the globe. “For years, California consumers have paid more for their online purchases because of Amazon’s anticompetitive contracting practices,” Bonta said Wednesday. “Amazon’s market dominance, allowing the company to make increasingly untenable demands on its merchants,” resulted in “higher prices and more control.” Continue reading California Attorney General Files Antitrust Suit Against Amazon

Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Lyft Media is the new business unit under which the ride hailing company is consolidating its advertising sales activities. More than two years since Lyft acquired Halo Cars Inc., manufacturer of car-top digital monitors, it is renewing its focus on generating ad revenue. In-car tablets that show advertisements in addition to letting riders track routes, control music and tip and rate their drivers are being testing in Los Angeles and by year’s end will be in 25 percent of Lyft vehicles there and in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. Continue reading Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Proposed Antitrust Laws a Privacy Disaster Warns Tim Cook

Antitrust legislation pending in the U.S. and European Union is at odds with consumer privacy initiatives in those territories, Apple CEO Tim Cook told attendees of the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2022 in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. Speaking out against proposed “gatekeeper” rules, Cook warned that “when companies decide to leave the App Store because they want to exploit user data, it could put significant pressure on people to engage with alternate app stores — app stores where their privacy and security may not be protected.” Continue reading Proposed Antitrust Laws a Privacy Disaster Warns Tim Cook

FTC Chair Khan Calls for Privacy Rules and Data Limitations

Federal Trade Commission chair Lina Khan says it’s time for the FTC and Congress to deliver on consumer privacy protection, legislating to ensure that consumers don’t have to surrender personal data in order to enjoy online tools that are essential to everyday life. Speaking Monday at the IAPP Global Privacy Summit 2022 in Washington, D.C., Khan emphasized creating “substantive limits rather than just procedural protections” when it comes to personal data. Meanwhile, Big Tech did its own lobbying on behalf of consumer privacy. Continue reading FTC Chair Khan Calls for Privacy Rules and Data Limitations

U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

Washington policymakers have identified stablecoins as the initial target for stricter cryptocurrency regulation. Stablecoins — which are backed by a reserve asset — are booming due to investors using them to trade among other cryptocurrencies. The stablecoin sector grew by about 500 percent in the 12-month period ending October 31, according to a report issued by the Biden administration. While there are four basic types of stablecoin, the ones collateralized by fiat currency — and specifically the U.S. dollar — is by far the most popular. A bipartisan effort exists to create safeguards ensuring one stablecoin is expeditiously redeemable for one dollar. Continue reading U.S. Lawmakers Target Stablecoin in Cryptocurrency Debate

CES: An Update on the U.S. Rollout of ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV

ATSC president Madeleine Noland presented a “virtual tour” of NextGen TV at CES 2022, where it is again located in the Las Vegas Convention Center lobby. She revealed that, in addition to three displays showing off NextGen TV’s improved visuals, audio and interactivity, ATSC will also highlight products from Gaian Solutions, LG Electronics, Pearl TV, Samsung, Sony and Sinclair Broadcast Group. She also interviewed three executives on their NextGen launches and other activities from 2021 as well as their upcoming plans for 2022. Continue reading CES: An Update on the U.S. Rollout of ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV

Amazon to Open Cashierless Whole Foods Stores Next Year

Amazon plans to open two “Just Walk Out” Whole Foods stores in 2022, in Washington D.C. and Sherman Oaks, California, leveraging the same technology used in its Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores. The company also offers the technology for sale to other retailers. This marks the first time that Amazon is using its cashierless technology at the 500-store Whole Foods, which it bought in 2017. Shoppers enter and leave the store by scanning a QR code in Amazon or Whole Foods apps and motion sensors track their shopping choices. Continue reading Amazon to Open Cashierless Whole Foods Stores Next Year

Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Alphabet’s Google is being sued by a group of 36 states and the District of Columbia that claim the Big Tech company abuses its market dominance with the Google Play Store. Although it is the fourth such state or federal antitrust lawsuit filed against Google since October, this lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, is the first to take aim directly at the tech giant’s app store. The other suits have focused on search and advertising. California, Utah, North Carolina, New York and Tennessee lead this suit. Continue reading Latest Multi-State Antitrust Lawsuit Targets Google Play Store

Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Will Step Down as CEO on July 5

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos will officially leave his position as chief executive on July 5, and Amazon Web Services chief executive Andy Jassy will take over the Amazon CEO position. The departure of Bezos was originally announced in a February earnings report but a specific date was not revealed. Bezos said July 5 is “sentimental” because it was the date Amazon was incorporated in 1994. Bezos will become executive chair, focusing his attention on “new products and early initiatives.” He said he expects Jassy to be “an outstanding leader.” Continue reading Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Will Step Down as CEO on July 5

DC Files Lawsuit Against Amazon Alleging Antitrust Violations

Attorney general for the District of Columbia Karl Racine filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon, claiming the tech giant abuses its monopoly power by artificially raising product prices. The suit adds that Amazon blocks vendors from charging lower prices for the same products elsewhere, which results in higher prices for these products on Amazon and other marketplaces. This marks the first time a U.S. government entity has filed a suit against Amazon. Racine stated that, “Amazon has used its dominant position in the online retail market to win at all costs.”

Continue reading DC Files Lawsuit Against Amazon Alleging Antitrust Violations

U.S. Will Remove Chinese Phone Maker Xiaomi From Blacklist

The U.S. Defense Department removed Xiaomi from a blacklist preventing U.S. investment in the Chinese tech company, an action taken during the Trump administration that alleged the company had ties with the Chinese military. Two months ago, in a Washington D.C. court, a judge criticized the rationale behind the blacklisting and ordered a temporary halt against its enforcement. Xiaomi shares rose 6.1 percent in Hong Kong following the news. TikTok and WeChat also found redress against Trump-era actions against them. Continue reading U.S. Will Remove Chinese Phone Maker Xiaomi From Blacklist

Amazon Plans for HQ2 Include Helix Tower, Outdoors Theme

Amazon has unveiled plans for its HQ2 complex to be located in northern Virginia and accommodate about 13,000 employees with “room for more.” The “centerpiece” is the Helix, a 350-foot tower featuring two spiraling walkways with native plants and trees that twist to the building’s highest point. The development, which highlights an “outdoors theme,” also includes three 22-story office buildings, smaller retail buildings in a woodsy setting, an outdoor amphitheater, a dog run and parking for about 950 bicycles. Continue reading Amazon Plans for HQ2 Include Helix Tower, Outdoors Theme

Judge Greenlights Facebook’s $5B Agreement with the FTC

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia judge Timothy Kelly approved a deal reached last summer whereby Facebook will pay a $5 billion fine to settle with the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations related to the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Facebook will also be restricted in some of its business decisions and will be subject to ongoing oversight. Facebook chief privacy officer for product Michel Protti noted that the agreement “has already brought fundamental changes to our company.” Continue reading Judge Greenlights Facebook’s $5B Agreement with the FTC

CES 2020: Experts Say AI Leadership Not Zero Sum Game

Congressional candidate Darrell Issa opened a CES session on the global race for AI leadership by warning that this is an “existential threat to employment and national security.” “On the commercial side, whoever owns AI will own the industrial revolution,” he said. “If you’re leading AI, it’s about how many jobs you’ll gain. Whoever leads in AI will also lead in weapons systems that will matter for as long as this planet survives. This isn’t science fiction and it isn’t the future — it’s now.” Continue reading CES 2020: Experts Say AI Leadership Not Zero Sum Game

CES 2020: (Finally) a Fireside Chat with FCC Chair Ajit Pai

Following a discussion with FTC chair Joseph Simons, CTA chair/chief executive Gary Shapiro welcomed FCC chair Ajit Pai who has tried unsuccessfully to speak at CES for the last two years. Since the change in net neutrality laws, which met with a lot of pushback, noted Pai, “speeds are up, broadband infrastructure is up, more fiber was laid in 2019 than in any other year.” “We often heard that this was the end of the Internet,” Pai said. “But more Americans get faster Internet than ever before.” Continue reading CES 2020: (Finally) a Fireside Chat with FCC Chair Ajit Pai