POLITICO Morning Tech: Biden’s trustbuster streak continues with Kanter pick

July 21, 2021 Media

At long last, the White House has announced its pick for DOJ antitrust chief: progressive favorite Jonathan Kanter. The 47-year-old Kanter has been involved in antitrust fights with the search giant as far back as 2007, when Google bought ad tech company DoubleClick. He was a key figure in the FTC’s 2012 antitrust investigation against Google, in which he represented Microsoft. And he has spent the years since collecting Google critics — the likes of Yelp, News Corp. and Mapbox, among others — as his clients.

Though his work on Google is his best-known, Kanter also represents some Apple critics, like the Coalition for App Fairness, and has helped develop antitrust arguments to be used against it. Kanter split with Paul, Weiss, his former law firm, over Apple; when the firm poached top antitrust litigators Karen Dunn and Bill Isaacson from Boies Schiller last year, the duo brought their Apple work along, leading to legal conflicts requiring Kanter’s departure. DOJ’s antitrust division has been investigating Apple for almost two years now and is nearing a decision on whether to bring a case.

Advocacy groups are lining up to ask the FTC to take on their chosen targets. Protect Our Restaurants, an endeavor from antimonopoly groups, is asking Khan to probe dominant food delivery apps, while the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors wants more scrutiny of how third-party sellers fare on Amazon (it raised similar e-commerce concerns with the General Services Administration).