We’re guessing that most of you know of the antitrust complaint against Facebook, but haven’t kept up and don’t remember the details.
This was the antitrust case brought against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 48 states in December 2020. The case is hard to summarize for much the same reason it was ultimately dismissed: it was very un-specific. To quote from Monday’s court filing on the subject:
“It is almost as if [the FTC] expects the Court to simply nod to the conventional wisdom that Facebook is a monopolist.”
Translation: Sure, everyone knows that Zuck and Facebook are thirsty as hell, but that’s not a LEGAL case against them. You have to be able to say which (specific) laws they’ve broken. Which makes sense for a court to say, even if it’s anticlimactic for anyone in the angry mob.
What happens next, then? The court is allowing the FTC another 30 days to, basically, get more specific and try again—so this could just be a speed bump in the grand scheme of things. Then again, one reason for the case’s lack of specificity is that existing antitrust law didn’t see the Internet Age coming, and therefore isn’t always applicable (no matter how hard you try).
Even if the suit fails, the FTC could “take matters into their own hands.” Which could be interesting because (A) the FTC has not used all of the powers available to it by law, and (B) the FTC’s newly appointed chair is Lina Khan, widely considered a pioneer for this Big-Tech era of antitrust.
Following the news of the antitrust suit’s dismissal, Facebook’s market value rose by more than 4% during (Mon)day trading, which then meant…
For non-finance peeps: market cap is a typical measure of a company’s value. To be more specific, it’s basically the total value of all of a company’s shares. (Even more specific and literal: it’s short for market capitalization, which basically means “the amount of cash you’d expect if you could sell 100% of the company on the exchange right now.”)
A trillion dollars is a lot of money, and needless to say, it’s an accomplishment to get this high. One Trillion Dollars is a nice, tidy milestone to which only a handful of U.S. companies have ascended—and it’s literally a handful, because you can count them on one hand and Facebook is the pinky.
But before you imagine Zuck puffing up his chest and strutting proudly around Facebook HQ, a bit of perspective: Facebook is officially losing the “valuation race” among its Big Four peers. Apple crossed the $1T threshold in August 2018, Amazon a month after that, then Microsoft in June 2019, then Alphabet (Google’s parent) in January 2020—and, only now, Facebook.
One last rub of salt: not one, but TWO companies have already lapped Facebook in this “race.” Microsoft isn’t even one of the Big Four and its market cap passed $2T last week—and of course, Facebook’s bitter rival du jour, Apple, crossed the $2T mark almost a year ago.
A “congratulations” from Tim Cook (even if sincere) would probably get Zuck rip-s**t angry, and for some reason this thought amuses us.