Tech: EU fines Google $5B for antitrust violations
The European Union slapped Google’s parent company, Alphabet, with a record $5 billion antitrust fine this week, said Lawrence Norman and Sam Schechner in The Wall Street Journal. The bloc’s antitrust regulator said the tech giant “had abused the dominance of its Android operating system,” which runs on more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, to promote its search engine and other products. Regulators said Alphabet behaved illegally by leveraging its market power to persuade handset makers to preload its apps and services on their handsets. Alphabet plans to appeal.
Retail: Amazon’s costly Prime Day crash
“Amazon’s Prime Day got off to a terrible start,” said Ina Fried in Axios.com. The annual sales event sputtered this week as the retailer’s site struggled to handle a surge in traffic from customers looking for discounted goods. Tech glitches meant that rather than finding deals, many bargain hunters were directed to a holding page featuring a picture of a cute dog. With Prime Day sales expected to reach $3.4 billion, analysts said, the outage might have cost Amazon tens of millions of dollars.
Mergers: DOJ appeals AT&T–Time Warner ruling
The Justice Department is appealing a federal judge’s approval of AT&T’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, said Mike Snider in USA Today. Judge Richard Leon ruled last month that the government had failed to show that the merger violated antitrust law, and he actively “discouraged the agency from seeking a stay.” The Justice Department hasn’t explained its grounds for appealing the decision, but President Trump, as a candidate, said his administration would not let AT&T buy Time Warner, “and thus CNN.”
Food: Chains pledge end to no-poach clauses
Seven major chain restaurants have agreed to drop a hiring practice that critics accuse of “keeping tens of thousands of fast-food workers locked in low-wage jobs,” said Rachel Abrams in The New York Times. Under agreements reached with Washington state that will be implemented nationwide, McDonald’s, Arby’s, Carl’s Jr., Jimmy John’s, Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon, and Buffalo Wild Wings pledged to remove “no poach” clauses from their contracts with franchisees. Such provisions prevent workers at one McDonald’s franchise, for example, from taking a job with another McDonald’s franchise. A recent study estimated that no-poach clauses affected 70,000 restaurants in the U.S., or more than a quarter of fast-food outlets.