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The week in Tech: Setter and A.I. Genie back in the bottle



It is interesting that the decision went against Apple at all. Liberal lawyers often favor antitrust acts and conservatives avoid it. So you would have expected the sentence to be 5-to-4 in the other direction, along the Supreme Court's conservative-liberal line.

But the new justice, Brett M. Kavanaugh, tipped the other way. 19659002] You can read Justice Kavanaugh's decision as an indicator that when people in all political stripes begin to find Big Tech troublesome, conservatives can accept that antitrust can be a useful tool to curb their power. If that's right, Big Tech should be very busy.

In 2019, it is a little more fashionable than demanding Facebook dismantling.

This week, Senator Kamala Harris and Joseph R. Biden Jr., two of Democrats who drove to the president, said it should be considered, joining another, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who has called for wider Big Tech breakups. And don't forget that Chris Hughes, a Facebook founder, wrote this month that he also wanted to split up.

We could argue (the length) about the validity of the idea. But how plausible is it?

The chosen weapon behind most of these calls is antitrust law. Nice. There are plenty of potentially competitive behaviors to follow. But when it comes to final results, it is possible to collapse, but not in any way, from such litigation, according to antitrust experts I spoke to.

Einer Elhauge, a professor of Harvard who led the anti-trust advisory committee of the Obama campaign in 2008, told me that splitting WhatsApp and Instagram from Facebook – the most popular proposal – was plausible, but may depend on how deeply integrated they had become .

"It's hard to unscramble eggs," he said. And Facebook's pressure to mix the platforms closer can make such unscrambling more difficult.

Harry First, a law professor at New York University specializing in antitrust, said breaking up what was left on Facebook would be "problematic and expensive" making it unlikely.


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