Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Why Big Tech foe Lina Khan's appointment to FTC chair isn't shaking markets

All of the world's trillion-dollar companies (with the exception of Saudi Aramco) are reportedly having what Protocol's Issie Lapowsky characterizes as "heart palpitations" over the appointment of Lina Khan as FTC chair. But don't expect anything drastic to happen soon.

Why it matters: Khan is the most fearsome foe that Big Tech could have imagined in America's top antitrust role — and her fans in Congress are making waves as well. But you'd never guess that from the giants' share prices, which have been hitting new all-time highs since the announcement.


How it works: There are two main reasons Khan doesn't seem to be worrying the markets.

  • The first is financial: The markets don't necessarily see a lot of value in the giant companies being as big as they are. As the NYT's Shira Ovide points out, with size comes flabbiness and a lack of strategic focus.
  • The possibility of break ups — spinning out the likes of Instagram and YouTube and AWS — could create value rather than destroy it.

The bigger reason for the market's sanguine reaction is that no one knows whether or how Khan will be able to permanently change the U.S. regulatory system's approach to antitrust.

The big picture: Khan is a lawyer who's acutely aware that even if she can reconfigure the FTC staff to align with her vision, those rulings would still need to be upheld by appointed judges in highly contentious and drawn-out court proceedings.

  • Khan is also a journalist — and her most lasting legacy could be the degree to which she is able to use her FTC perch to shape the broader narrative about anti-competitive behavior.

Between the lines: Storytelling ability — which Khan has in spades — has had outsized financial rewards of late. But it could turn out to be even more influential with regard to changes in the way that regulators, jurists, and lawmakers think about foundational issues.

  • Where it stands: For the time being, Robert Bork's vision of antitrust dominates the jurisprudential arena. That vision came not from any particular judicial ruling but rather from a book he wrote in 1978.
  • Khan's compelling rebuttal of that vision put her on the map. Her job now is to use her bully pulpit — and her ability to hire and fire at the FTC — to start expanding the circle of people who embrace her approach.

The bottom line: What Khan wants is an almost total reimagining of the way in which antitrust is conceptualized. That's not going to come from, say, her agency's investigation into Amazon's acquisition of MGM Studios. It's going to take many years, and it's not something that financial analysts can even begin to start quantifying.

Go deeper:

  • Axios' Scott Rosenberg on how "the Goliaths are fully in command" of the transition to a new form of computer hardware — something that might normally provide opportunities for upstart competitors.
  • Axios' Margaret Harding McGill and Ashley Gold on the divisions within Congress when it comes to bills attempting to rein in Big Tech.

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

Keep reading... Show less

North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

Keep reading... Show less

Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

Keep reading... Show less

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories