DOJ sues to block Visa’s $5.3 billion purchase of Plaid Inc.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Department of Justice sued payment processing giant Visa Inc. on Thursday to block the company’s purchase of financial technology startup Plaid, calling it a monopolistic takeover of a potential competitor to Visa’s ubiquitous payments network.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California, seeks to stop Visa’s purchase of Plaid, which at $5.3 billion would have been the second-largest acquisition in the company’s history, second only to Visa’s buyout of Visa Europe a few years ago.

Plaid provides the infrastructure to allow consumers and businesses to pay directly from their bank account. Services like Venmo, SoFi, Stripe and TransferWise all use Plaid as a way for consumers to send money from their bank accounts to another party without having to use the debit card infrastructure that’s largely controlled by Visa and its competitor Mastercard.

Visa earns a small fee from every transaction that is

Read More

TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer cheers DOJ lawsuit against Google

Many in Silicon Valley may be fuming about the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google, but one slice of the tech industry is cheering the move: Online travel booking operators.

TripAdvisor CEO Stephen Kaufer, a longtime critic of Google, welcomed the government’s decision to look into the tech behemoth. The DOJ and 11 Republican state attorneys general are going after Google for allegedly unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in search by cutting off rivals from key distribution channels.

“We think the DOJ is taking an important first step … long overdue but welcome nonetheless. Google is using its dominance in internet gatekeeping at the expense of other businesses,” Kaufer told CNBC in a phone interview.

At the GeekWire Summit this week, Expedia CEO Peter Kern said, “We have no axe to grind against Google, except that we don’t think the marketplace is equitable.”

In a lengthy blog post following the

Read More

The DOJ is taking the gloves off against Big Tech

FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2019, file photo a sign is shown on a Google building at their campus in Mountain View, Calif. The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Google has been abusing its online dominance in online search to stifle competition and harm consumers. The litigation marks the government's most significant act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. The suit could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
A Googe sign is shown on a building at the company’s campus in Mountain View, Calif., in September 2019. (Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

The internet has been a powerful source of innovation and opportunity in the half-century since the first electronic message was sent between experimental nodes at UCLA and Stanford. And in some industries, it remains a great equalizer — giving upstart creators and service providers the sort of access that used to be the exclusive province of big corporations.

That’s why policymakers in the United States have been loath to intervene online, worried that any rules they set would be counterproductive or quickly rendered obsolete by the rapid pace of change. “Don’t regulate the internet” became a frequent rallying cry, and for the most part, lawmakers and governmental agencies handled the emerging online powerhouses with kid gloves.

The gloves have now officially come off. The U.S. Department

Read More

Google Search’s Popularity Could Help Protect it from the DOJ

The DOJ’s long-expected antitrust lawsuit against Google  (GOOG) – Get Report only covers some of the business practices that have put Google in the crosshairs of various U.S. and foreign regulators in recent years.

And while there could still be consequences — both for Google and others — if Google has to change some of the practices that are covered by the suit, the popularity of Google’s services with consumers could limit the fallout.

22 years after the DOJ sued Microsoft  (MSFT) – Get Report for allegedly abusing a dominant position in the PC operating system market, the DOJ and 11 state attorneys general are suing Google for allegedly abusing a dominant position in search. However, the suit generally doesn’t focus on how Google Search — or the massive, keyword-based, advertising business that relies on it — functions.

Rather, the suit focuses on deals Google has

Read More

Google says DOJ anti-trust suit is without merit, will defend ‘vigorously’

The Securities & Exchange Commission Tuesday evening published an 8-K filing by Google in which the company rejected the U.S. Department of Justice’s anti-trust case against the company, saying it is “without merit.”

The DOJ on Tuesday morning filed sued against Google, saying that the company is illegally maintaining a monopoly over online search services and related advertising in the quest for profit, and as such, rival companies are being denied the opportunity to compete effectively.

Said Google in the filing,

In August 2019, Google LLC (“Google”), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., began receiving civil investigative demands from the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and a group of state Attorneys General requesting information and documents relating to its prior antitrust investigations and certain aspects of its business. On October 20, 2020, the DOJ, joined by 11 state Attorneys General, filed an antitrust complaint against Google in the United States

Read More

Sundar Pichai to Googlers after DOJ case: Keep doing what you’re doing

  • The Justice Department just slapped Google with a landmark antitrust lawsuit, focusing on the company’s dominance in search.
  • A public statement has been circulated among employees, but CEO Sundar Pichai also voiced some thoughts in an internal email obtained by Business Insider.
  • “I’ve had Googlers ask me how they can help, and my answer is simple: keep doing what you’re doing. The best way we can help the company in times like these is by staying deeply focused on our mission,” he said.
  • Are you a Google insider with insight to share? You can contact this reporter securely using the encrypted messaging app Signal (+1-628-228-1836) or encrypted email ([email protected]). Reach out using a nonwork device.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The Department of Justice has hit Google with a lawsuit that accuses the company of abusing its monopoly to give itself an unfair advantage in search and advertising.

Read More

DOJ Google suit takes Alphabet from ‘buy to strong buy’

CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Tuesday that Alphabet would go from a “buy to a strong buy” if the government’s antitrust lawsuit against its Google unit were to lead to a break up.

“I just think it’s another ‘loser case’ by the government. And by the way, the sum of the parts is worth far more than $1,500,” Cramer said on “Squawk Box.”

The “Mad Money” host said he believes the Department of Justice is likely to struggle to prove its case that Google abused its market power in its search and advertising business.

Cramer said Alphabet shareholders would be winners if the government were to force Google’s parent to split up.

“I’ve been saying over and over again, they ought to break this company up and bring out value. It’s the DOJ taking it from buy to strong buy,” he said.  “Ultimately, Google, if they break it up, then you

Read More

DOJ accuses 6 Russian intelligence officers of vast computer hacking

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — The United States Department of Justice is going after six Russian military intelligence officers for alleged computer attacks.

“No country has weaponized its cyber capabilities as maliciously and irresponsibly as Russia,” DOJ National Security Assistant Attorney General John Demers said.

Demers says this group disrupted a French election, the Winter Olympics, and a hospital system in Pennsylvania.

“The most disruptive and destructive series of computer attacks ever attributed to a single group,” Demers said of the alleged hacks.

“While the alleged perpetrators of these crimes were Russian government officials, the victims who suffered real harm as a result of these crimes were often ordinary citizens and businesses around the world,” Western Pennsylvania District Attorney Scott Brady said.

Brady says Heritage Valley Health System suffered from a malware attack in 2017 and lost access to critical patient information.

“While

Read More

DOJ Charges Texas Billionaire in $2 Billion Tax Fraud Scheme

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Federal prosecutors charged Texas billionaire Robert Brockman on Thursday with a $2 billion tax fraud scheme in what they say is the largest such case against an American.

Department of Justice officials said at a news conference that Brockman, 79, hid capital gains income over 20 years through a web of offshore entities in Bermuda and Nevis and secret bank accounts in Bermuda and Switzerland. Prosecutors announced that the CEO of a private equity firm that aided in the schemes would cooperate with the investigation.

The 39-count indictment unsealed Thursday charges Brockman, the chief executive officer of Ohio-based software company Reynolds and Reynolds Co., with tax evasion, wire fraud, money laundering, and other offenses.

Prosecutors also announced that Robert F. Smith, founder and chairman of Vista Equity Partners, will cooperate in the investigation and pay $139 million to settle his own tax probe. Smith, 57, stunned

Read More