Antitrust Wars Heat Up; Facebook Acquires Social CRM Startup Kustomer

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All About Antitrust

Facebook and Google’s legal woes are expected to get worse as federal and state antitrust authorities prepare to file new lawsuits against the tech giants. The Wall Street Journal reports that authorities are readying as many as four more cases targeting Google or Facebook by the end of January, following the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google last month. Officials are probing whether the tech giants abused their power in the internet economy – Google in search and ads, and Facebook in social. If Facebook were to be sued, it would mark the first government antitrust action against the company in the United States. Apple and Amazon are also under scrutiny. Former FTC chairman William Kovacic sees growing bipartisan concerns among elected leaders. “The supportive chorus of elected officials is giving assurance to DOJ and the FTC that they have the political support they need to blunt [the companies’] efforts … to pressure the agencies to back off or water down their cases,” Kovacic said.

Social CRM

Facebook has acquired Kustomer, a company that enables social commerce functionality for businesses. Kustomer clients such as Glossier and Sweetgreen use its platform to field customer inquiries that come in through Facebook Messenger. The deal, worth an estimated $1 billion, follows Facebook’s launch of online shopping functionality on Facebook and Instagram. It speaks to the growing buzz around not only commerce, but also the need for omnichannel customer service that can integrate CRM touchpoints wherever they happen. See also: Twylio’s $3 billion-plus acquisition of identity resolution platform Signal. Press release.

Fyber Optics

Fyber, the Berlin-based mobile app SSP, released Q3 2020 results showing 94% year-over-year revenue growth, driven by programmatic and video advertising. Overall revenue for the first nine months of 2020 increased 46% to $145 million (121 million euros) compared to $99 million (83 million euros) during the same period in 2019. Fyber's programmatic business, meanwhile, saw 70% YoY revenue growth to $109 million (91 million euros) accounting for 75% of overall revenue. Of that, programmatic video increased by more than 600% to $42 million (35 million euros), representing nearly 30% of ad budgets spent on Fyber's inventory. The company faces a possible disruption in the form of Apple's iOS 14 release. Fyber is trying to preempt any carnage by adopting SKAdNetwork (Apple’s replacement for IDFA functionality) and contextual app advertising. Time will tell.

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