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Edition #309 - 46 States

David Berkowitz wrote a response to my newsletter post, which I thought was brilliant. Check it out (and subscribe) here.

One big thing

The FTC sued Facebook, alleging that the company is illegally maintaining its personal social networking monopoly through a years-long course of anticompetitive conduct.

For antitrust action to be successful it has to pass the monopoly and the clearly defined market test. Do they have a monopoly in a clearly defined market, which enables them to take anti-competitive practices?

On the former, Facebook eloquently fits the defined market definition. Who has the biggest social network? And what social networks do you use? Of those, they own two, Facebook and Instagram (and WhatsApp if you count that).

And it is indeed this that Facebook is arguing. In their response, they called the action revisionist history, because they sought approval for the acqusition. Mirroring what Microsoft argued in their antitrust case, they exist in a fiercely competitive space and have invested billions.

“People have more choices at their fingertips than ever before, and we compete constantly for their time and attention against other apps through which they can share, connect, communicate or simply be entertained.”

This is true but in the social network space, they are a monopoly.

My take, I think they’re going to have to split the two companies up. On the topic of competing for attention, keep an eye for our upcoming piece on the Economics of Attention.
Notable stories this week Deals/M&A
  • Adzerk rebrands as Kevel in tandem with its $11m funding announcement. An early native ads pioneer are charting a new path, focused on helping retailers build their private ad infrastructure. Congrats to James, Chris and team.
  • Aronon acquires branded content agency Nemorin.
  • Microsoft acquires esports tournament platform.
Campaign of the week
  • [Enjoyed this] The behind the scenes on Taika Waititi's Coca Cola Christmas - The Letter.
  • Drop In with DropBox, Wired Brand Lab and Guy Raz. Chatting with entrepreneurs and business leaders on how they’re adapting.
  • Barclays with Broadcast network, talking are we drowning in premium TV streaming platforms or spoilt for choice?
Datapoints of note That's it for this week!

Thanks,

Ben
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