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Regulators Warn Tech Giants More Antitrust Enforcement Coming

 |  June 12, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission is keeping a close eye on Big Tech as the industry expands into newer technologies such as artificial intelligence and the metaverse.

In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, FTC Chair Lina Khan said regulators risk “fighting yesterday’s war” if they fail to comprehend how tech giants might take advantage of societal technology shifts to strengthen their own position, in ways that may violate antitrust laws.

The message is a warning to the tech industry as companies ranging from Facebook-parent Meta (FB) to Microsoft (MSFT) have announced big investments in virtual reality tech, and as AI-powered smart speakers have become ubiquitous (and have already inspired some competitive complaints).

“Dominant incumbent platforms are threatened at moments of technological transition,” Khan said. “I think we are now similarly seeing lots of technological transition, via VR and AR contexts, in the cloud, with certain types of voice assistant technologies.”

The remarks highlight how expansively the FTC views its mission as Khan seeks to reshape the US government’s approach to antitrust. Khan is among the tech industry’s fiercest critics, having helped lead a 16-month congressional investigation of the sector and spurred a national debate over Amazon’s economic dominance with a Yale Law Journal paper highlighting the company’s impact. Last year, President Joe Biden surprised many by not only nominating Khan to be an FTC commissioner, but to lead the agency.

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