Aug 11, 2021 • 11M

🗞️ Amazon’s new legal rivalry in India

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Raad Ahmed
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Episode details

This week: A grocery store purchase leads to litigation, and Epic says Google tried to buy it. Plus: Is the SEC getting closer to landmark crypto regulation?

🔥 Amazon scores a huge court victory in India 

The biggest legal fight in India is over a grocery store that is so big Amazon wanted a piece.

  • The Indian company Future Group owns hundreds of food markets and shops: But it hasn’t been doing so well financially. Amazon invested $200 million and reserved first purchasing rights if Future Group decided to sell. 

  • Reliance Industries, a massive Indian corporation, entered the picture: Future Group agreed to sell to them for $3.4 billion. As for that agreement with Amazon? Well Future Group and Reliance figured the Indian courts wouldn’t allow it because of the stringent regulations the country has against foreign investors. 

  • But that’s not what happened: The Supreme Court of India sided with Amazon last week, according to the NYT, blocking the sale to Reliance.    

The bigger picture for Amazon

The eCommerce giant not only gets the win, but it may also get future opportunities in India. The courts and regulators had traditionally been hesitant to foreign businesses, but this legal decision could be a sign of changing times.  

The Verdict

If Amazon’s legal battles against regulators and Congress are half as successful in the U.S. as they are in India, Jeff Bezos’s company will be in great shape. 

🤔 Where exactly does the new head of the SEC stand on regulating crypto? 

Crypto remains a largely unregulated $1.6 trillion market. 

And will it stay that way because the new head of the SEC, Gary Gensler, is a major fan of digital currencies? Probably not. 

  • Before the SEC, Gensler researched crypto: He even developed a course about it at M.I.T. But his soft spot for Bitcoin won’t get in the way, he told Bloomberg

  • He already has behind-the-scenes regulation plans: These include regulation initial coin offerings, stable value coins, ETFs, and more. The gist of the SEC’s strategy, Gensler told Bloomberg, is to protect investors against fraud. 

Commodity or security?

Gensler has asked Congress to give the SEC power to regulate crypto, but a new law might be unnecessary. He believes the SEC’s powers are broad enough already for it to take action, particularly regarding the various currencies that fit the definition of “unregistered securities.”

  • But plenty of others are more skeptical. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has also tried to regulate the market, and the head of the CFTC recently said the SEC has no jurisdiction over crypto. 

The Verdict

Change is already here. The SEC charged two people for unregistered sales of $30 million of crypto. It is the first time the SEC has taken such action.   

🙊 After Epic sued Google, Google thought about buying Epic 

If you can’t beat them?

  • That appears to have been the strategy of Google: In new court filings dissected by The Verge, Epic revealed the search engine giant wanted to buy them out. Epic highlighted it as a monopolistic tactic to “fence out competition.”

  • Epic lobbed another accusation, too: It stated Google offered them a special deal to have Fortnite in the Google Play store and not available through so-called independent sideloading.    

Google denies everything

A company spokesperson told The Verge Epic’s lawsuit “mischaracterizes our business conversations.” 

The Verdict 

The drama keeps picking up for Epic in its lawsuit vs. Google, which was recently packaged with an antitrust suit against Google from the government. But we’re still waiting on the big decision in the Apple case.

💌 What else we're forwarding 

Approval rating for SCOTUS is falling: A new Gallup poll showed approval of the Supreme Court below 50% for the first time since 2017.

Get to know the immigration law that changed everything for the U.S.: Vox has an in-depth explainer on the 1996 law that “broke U.S. immigration.”

🎧 Music we’re working to

Today we’re listening to Eluvium, an ambient composer based in Portland, Oregon. Two Januarys ago we recommended his Pianoworks record from 2019. This time we’re featuring his latest Virga record, part of a 2 album series that showcases a plunge into a drone and tape loop. The spellbinding textures will fascinate and intrigue you!

Virga II - Eluvium (40m, no vocals)
Spotify / Apple Music / YouTube Music / Amazon Music 

See ya next week,

✌🏽 Raad