Facebook told to sell Instagram and WhatsApp in new US competition case     

US regulator the Federal Trade Commission has refiled its competition case against Facebook, accusing it of illegally maintaining monopoly power and again asking for it to sell off both Instagram and  WhatsApp
Facebook told to sell Instagram and WhatsApp in new US competition case     

The FTC accused Facebook of an 'illegal buy or bury scheme to crush competition' in the headline to its complaint. 

US regulator the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has refiled its competition case against Facebook, accusing it of illegally maintaining monopoly power and again asking for it to sell off both Instagram and  WhatsApp. 

The regulator had suffered a setback earlier this year when a federal judge threw out its lawsuit against the company.

At 80 pages, the new complaint is significantly longer than the original, 53-page complaint and includes additional data and evidence intended to support the FTC's contention that Facebook is a monopolist. An expanded portion of the complaint argues that Facebook dominates the US personal social networking market.

'Illegal buy or bury scheme'

The FTC accused Facebook of an "illegal buy or bury scheme to crush competition" in the headline to its complaint. 

In a tweet, Facebook said it was reviewing the agency's amended complaint and would have more to say soon.

The high-profile case represents one of the most significant challenges the agency has brought against a tech company in decades, and is being closely watched as Washington aims to tackle the growing market power of big tech companies.

In its new complaint, the agency once again asked the court to order Facebook to sell Instagram, which it bought in 2012 for $1bn (€842m), and WhatsApp, which it bought in 2014 for $19bn (€16bn). 

It also asked the court to require Facebook to obtain prior approval for acquisitions in the future and to cease all anticompetitive behaviour.

"Despite causing significant customer dissatisfaction, Facebook has enjoyed enormous profits for an extended period of time suggesting both that it has monopoly power and that its personal social networking rivals are not able to overcome entry barriers and challenge its dominance," the amended complaint said.

The amended complaint comes after Judge James Boasberg of the US District Court for the District of Columbia said in June that the FTC's original complaint filed in December failed to provide evidence that Facebook had monopoly power in the social-networking market.

Microsoft to raise software prices

Meanwhile, Microsoft said it will raise prices as much as 20% for a bundle of software called Microsoft 365 that includes popular apps like Teams and Outlook. The increases will take effect within six months, Microsoft said in a blog post.

The Microsoft 365 suite is the cornerstone of the company's productivity and business process segment, which had sales of $53.9bn in its most recent fiscal year, about a third of Microsoft's overall $168bn sales.

The increases will affect commercial customers and are the first since Microsoft rolled out the service a decade ago. 

Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, said the company has added two dozen apps to the suite since it launched. 

"This updated pricing reflects the increased value we have delivered to our customers over the past 10 years," Mr Spataro said in the post.

Microsoft said it was not changing prices for the consumer or education versions of the software. Shares of Microsoft hit a record high. 

• Reuters

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