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Senate Resumes Antitrust Deep Dive

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The first Senate Antitrust Subcommittee hearing has been scheduled in the new Congress and look for revamping antitrust laws to rein in Big Tech to a big part of the discussion.

The bipartisan hearing, March 11 at 10 a.m., was announced jointly by Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and ranking member Mike Lee (R-Utah). 

Klobuchar has called for overhauling antitrust law to address Big Tech and its alleged strategy of buying up to monopoly power under the antitrust review radar. Lee also has issued with Big Tech, including Google and the ad markets.

"Our country faces a major monopoly power problem, and at this hearing, we will examine this problem’s scope and the reforms necessary to correct it,” said Klobuchar.

“Just as important as the question of whether we have a monopoly problem," said Lee, "is the question of whether we have an antitrust enforcement problem. I look forward to discussing both of these questions, and possible legislative solutions, with our distinguished panel of witnesses.”

Also Read: Merrick Garland Pledges Strong Antitrust Enforcement

Klobuchar also has issues with enforcement, specifically a lack of resources. At the nomination hearing of Attorney General Merrick Garland, Klobuchar said the Federal Trade Commission and DOJ Antitrust Division were shadows of what they were when AT&T was broken up, and asked Garland if he supported her bill that would provide more resources so they weren't overseeing a merging marketplace with Band-Aids and duct tape.

Klobuchar has said that if anything argued for antitrust law reform, it was DOJ's and FTC's suits against Facebook over its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp?

Witnesses for the March 11 hearing are: George Slover, Consumer Reports; Ashley Baker, The Committee for Justice; Barry Lynn, Open Markets Institute; Jan Rybnicek, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; and Professor Nancy L. Rose, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.