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The man trying to take down Apple

DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kantor
Kevin Dietsch/Getty
  • DOJ antitrust chief Jonathan Kanter is leading the lawsuit against Apple.

  • Federal prosecutors accuse Apple of using its monopoly power to stifle competition.

  • Kanter is a longtime critic of big tech and has also taken action against Google.

The US Department of Justice is targeting Apple — and Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter is leading the charge.

The DOJ antitrust chief has gone after several large corporations, most recently filing an 88-page lawsuit against Apple that accuses the company of illegal anticompetitive tactics to keep their smartphone monopoly.

In an interview with CNBC on Friday, the DOJ antitrust chief didn't rule out the possibility of breaking up Apple.

"Our lawsuit against Apple is designed to ensure that Apple is held accountable for antitrust violations," Kanter said. "And to ensure that the remedies achieve their intended result, which is to restore competition now and in the future."

Kanter started working as an antitrust attorney

50-year-old Kanter grew up in Queens, New York, with parents who worked as elementary school teachers. His grandfather was an immigrant from Ukraine, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Kanter received his Bachelor's degree from the State University of New York at Albany in 1995. He then attended Washington University in St. Louis, graduating in 1998 with his law degree.

Kanter took a job as an antitrust attorney at the Federal Trade Commission after law school and then moved to private law firms where he once represented Microsoft, according to the New York Times.

In 2016, Kanter joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, but eventually left the company because of his work with prior Google competitors, according to the Journal.

Kanter was confirmed by President Biden on November 16, 2021, as Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Antitrust Division. He's made a name for himself as a leading advocate for antitrust enforcement and policy.

He's a longtime critic of Big Tech

Kanter has a reputation for targeting monopolies.

The DOJ antitrust chief has worked with FTC chair Lina Khan on reforming federal merger guidelines. In 2022, the FTC and DOJ prevented a record number of mergers from happening based on antitrust violations.

Together, the DOJ and FTC have filed lawsuits against four of the six biggest tech companies. The FTC separately filed antitrust suits
against Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, and Amazon

Under Kanter's leadership, the DOJ won its first criminal monopolization lawsuit in over 40 years. The case involved a construction company monopolizing the market for highway repair services in Montana and Wyoming.

The DOJ has also blocked several corporate mergers under Kanter's leadership, including JetBlue's attempt to buy Spirit.

The Justice Department has also launched a blockbuster antitrust case against Google since Kanter joined.

The DOJ lawsuit argues that Google's search engine locks other companies into anticompetitive contracts and thus has an illegal monopoly.

Kanter said in a statement at the time that federal prosecutors would "hold Google to account for its longstanding monopolies in digital advertising technologies that content creators use to sell ads and advertisers use to buy ads on the open internet."

The allegations are centered on whether Google paid Apple and other companies to be the default search engine on their products, preventing competition from other services.

In Friday's CNBC interview about the Apple case, Kanter rejected suggestions that the DOJ was "going after Apple just because it's big."

"Competition leads to lower prices for consumers, lower prices for developers, more opportunities for entrepreneurs, and ultimately more innovation that benefits society," Kanter said in the interview.

Read the original article on Business Insider