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Weekly Roundups

US Regulators Sue Facebook for Alleged Anticompetitive Behavior

By Andrea Villar | Thu, 12/10/2020 - 10:43

Has the hunt for Big Tech begun? The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and prosecutors representing 48 states and territories filed a lawsuit against Facebook on Wednesday alleging that the social network giant abused its dominant position with its large acquisitions to neutralize competition. Authorities refer to Facebook’s 2012 US$1 billion Instagram acquisition and the 2014 US$19 billion WhatsApp acquisition. 

“Personal social networking is central to the lives of millions of Americans,” said in a statement Ian Conner, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Competition. “Facebook’s actions to entrench and maintain its monopoly deny consumers the benefits of competition. Our aim is to roll back Facebook’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition so that innovation and free competition can thrive.”

This case, according to The New York Times, seeks a breakup of Facebook, which is among “the most severe penalties regulators can demand”, says the media. However, one of Mark Zuckerberg’s company defenses is that the FTC itself approved these acquisitions. Moreover, reports Bloomberg, Facebook is likely to make “a more nuanced argument” by saying Instagram and WhatsApp are “no longer distinct entities and breaking them up, as exciting as it sounds, would be incredibly technically difficult. While the products are distinct to users, they share back-end resources for infrastructure, advertising, operations and more,” Bloomberg points out.

Less than two months ago, the US Department of Justice and 11 states filed an antitrust suit against Alphabet's Google for allegedly violating the law because of the way it treated rivals in its internet search and advertising business, seeking to disadvantage them to maintain the dominant position of its own search engine and thus sell more ads.

More news below:

  • With a range of measures, CyberArk ensures that only authorized people enter certain system areas. “In Latin America, more than 50 percent of leaks are caused by insiders. Internal users are sometimes motivated by financial incentives or by anger against the company. There are even cases where employees are threatened by criminal organizations and forced to use their current permissions to compromise the company,” said Adam McCord, Vice President for Latin America at CyberArk, in an interview with MBN.

  • In 2018, Sofftek was struggling with data backup and replication. Considering that its operations were essentially 24/7, maintenance windows were limited, making backing up data highly complicated. Veeam helped to resolve the issue offering flexibility and reliability. Read the full story here.

  • Konfío announced this week it will Acquire Gestionix, a cloud accounting platform for SMEs, one of the most affected sectors by the pandemic in Mexico. “After exploring several options, we saw in Gestionix the product with the best potential to become the ERP of choice for SMEs and accounting firms in Mexico, as well as the team with the best capacity to achieve it," said in a statement CEO of Konfío David Arana.

  • Disney now has until March 2021 to complete the sale of the Fox Sports business in Mexico. The sale of this business division is one of the conditions of the Mexican authorities for Disney to merge with Fox. The main argument behind this decision is that together with ESPN, Mickey Mouse's company would concentrate around 80 percent of sports content in the country.

  • Uber abandoned its attempt to develop its own autonomous vehicle and said on Monday that it will sell its division of development and marketing of autonomous driving technologies ATG to Aurora, a startup backed by Amazon, Hyundai and the investment fund Sequoia. The statement released by the ride-hailing company did not specify the amount of the transaction but said it would invest US$400 million in Aurora to obtain a 26 percent stake and that its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi would join the board of directors. 

  • Merry Christmas, Apple lovers. The company led by Tim Cook is ending the year by giving one more gift to its beloved fans: the new AirPods Max at a starting price of US$549. This new gadget features high-fidelity audio, Adaptive EQ, Active Noise Cancellation and spatial audio, according to a company’s statement. “The custom acoustic design, combined with powerful H1 chips and advanced software enable AirPods Max to use computational audio to wirelessly deliver the ultimate personal listening experience,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing. There is no launch date for Mexico yet.

  • Mexico-based Dextra Technologies is building software and other IT-solutions for major US corporations. “Right now, traveling to India or China is a difficult enterprise. We are seeing a trend toward nearshoring. We just acquired three new US-based clients that were comparing the risks between offshoring and nearshoring. Apart from US companies, Europe is also increasing its presence in Mexico. India is hedging its risk too, investing in its own software companies, which are establishing a foothold in Mexico as well”, told MBN Daniel Chávez, CEO of Dextra Technologies. The full conversation here.

  • The lack of regulations for cryptocurrencies has been a discussed issue for some time now. The G7 is now addressing it formally. The discussion followed Facebook’s Diem’s recent approval to be used as a cryptocurrency. The regulation seeks to avoid illicit uses of cryptocurrencies and to boost these as tools for a solid global recovery.

  • Online sales during Buen Fin 2020 reached MX$36.1 billion, representing 15.2 percent of total revenues recorded during this national discount campaign, the Mexican Association of Online Sales (AMVO) reported in a statement this week. However, the figure fell short of AMVO's estimates, which predicted that e-commerce would account for nearly 30 percent of total sales.

  • AEM announced its participation in the Integral Satellite Information Regional System (SIRIS) platform to monitor economic activities. SIRIS, which is being funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (BID) and supported by institutions from Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, uses satellite technology to monitor several economic activities and to support decision-making.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Bloomberg, The New York Times
Andrea Villar Andrea Villar Journalist and Industry Analyst