Attorney General Barr elevates antitrust lawyer Lauren Willard to coordinate ‘Big Tech’ review

Chris Strohm for Bloomberg:

Attorney General William Barr has elevated a lawyer from the Justice Department’s antitrust division to be his point person on a broad review into whether giant technology companies are using their power to thwart competition, signaling his hands-on interest in the issue.

Lauren Willard has been appointed to serve as a counselor to Barr, according to a Justice Department official. She will report to Barr on developments in the review.

The investigation is a sign of the escalating pressure on tech giants, from Capitol Hill to President Donald Trump, who accuses the companies of silencing conservative views. The giants of the industry have been criticized for practices that include the massive collection of user data, failing to police content on their platforms, and claims that they are harming competition and reducing choices for consumers.

Bloomberg has reported that U.S. antitrust agencies carved up oversight of four tech giants, with the [DOJ] taking Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Apple Inc., and the Federal Trade Commission claiming Facebook Inc. and Amazon.

MacDailyNews Take: Regarding Apple, the compnay does not have a monopoly or anything close to a monopoly in any market in which they compete, so the DOJ shouldn’t be wasting time on any Apple antitrust investigations. It’s ridiculous.

Google and Facebook, of course, are different stories. Any company that controls 92.62% of worldwide search on the Internet, as Google does, controls too much. And Facebook… don’t even get us started. Hopefully, the DOJ/FTC sees both of these outfits for what they are and finally proceeds accordingly.


  1. Folks, the real story, here, is one that may be missed elsewhere… that all this hoopla about antitrust probes is not about Apple having a monopoly or otherwise unfair to competitors, nor charging too much for app developers to place their apps into the iOS App Store. What it’s really all about is the “closed” nature of apps we can install on our iPhones.

    Now, don’t misunderstand me, I’m behind Apple on this 100%. But from the very beginning Windows-users and Android-users have been harping on how Apple “forces” iPhone-users to “only buy their apps from Apple.” And, as more and more of these folks get iPhones, more and more people resent anyone telling them what apps can and cannot be installed on THEIR phones. In other words, “Apple is exercising unfair, monopolistic control over the iPHONE market.”

    This has never come up on the Mac because (of course) Apple cannot prevent anyone from installing anything they want on their Mac. Perhaps this will be the final outcome of all these antitrust suits — that Apple will be forced to open the iOS platform — i.e., once you buy an iPhone it belongs to you, and you can install anything you wish on it. (And, like the Mac, for those who really care about function and their security, there is the Apple iOS App Store.)

    1. Apple created the iPhone market… which is simply a small part of the overall smart phone market. Consequently, not a monopoly. Saying otherwise is simply an attempt to work around what the definition of a monopoly is and apply monopoly restrictions to businesses that don’t fit the description.

  2. Let’s get real here: this is another instance of Crooked Trump abusing his power to try to achieve political benefit. He’s trying to intimidate these tech companies into tilting the playing field in his favor.

    And yes, sure Google and Facebook have their problems in particular…but Trump doesn’t care about consumers, he only cares about himself.

    Dare we say it, but this is a “witch hunt!”

  3. Just another example of turning what has historically been the United States Department of Justice into the US Department of Pursuing Presidential Pet Peeves, just like the comparable transformation of the Directorate of National Intellegence from an office that communicated facts from field agents to the President into an office that tells the agents what they better find or get fired. Ditto for what’s left of the US Department of State with a growing number of senior posts left unfilled because of the conflict between finding experienced diplomats who can be confirmed by a Republican Senate and finding appointees who will reliably tell the President what he wants to hear.

    As W.B. Yates foretold:

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

    1. Lets not forget the EPA, transformed from environmental ‘protection’ to energy ‘promotion and scientific data suppression’; foreign policy from inter governmental aims and international cooperation that previously sustained US leadership worldwide into bellicose mistreatment of friends and allies in favour of ‘gut’ instinct support of despots aided by Bolton setting a bonfire of US international agreements and commitments whilst demonising the UN and previous partners as ‘freeloaders’. Transforming America’s self-image from land of opportunity to self loathing white supremacy intolerance.
      Tic, tick, tick. Job done.

    2. Poetry helps.
      Ted Hughes(love his work, not the man) poem ‘Pike’ sums up Trymp perfectly in the two opening stanzas.

      Pike, three inches long, perfect
      Pike in all parts, green tigering the gold.
      Killers from the egg: the malevolent aged grin.
      They dance on the surface among the flies.

      Or move, stunned by their own grandeur,
      Over a bed of emerald, silhouette
      Of submarine delicacy and horror.
      A hundred feet long in their world.

  4. Don’t forget (for those of you old enough), that Microsoft went through this same challenge (and lost) against Netscape more than twenty years ago with their internet browser and the windows software would cause other browsers to not perform properly. Thereby causing users to almost have to use the MS software.

    Same concept, different companies.

    While I appreciate Apple screening apps for viruses and compatibility; I have to agree with the discussion point that if I’m paying far too much for an iPhone and iOS, then it should be my choice as to which apps I download onto it.

    Apple denying other companies access to iOS (even through their Apple store) is going to cost them in the long run.

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