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OpenMarket: Antitrust and Competition

  • Observations from the Tech Antitrust Hearing

    July 30, 2020
    This post collects some observations from yesterday’s lengthy House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law hearings with the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google. In short, committee members addressed a lot of things they shouldn’t have, and did not address some things they perhaps should have.
  • Tech Antitrust Hearing as Political Theater

    July 29, 2020
    Large, innovative tech companies have been invaluable during the COVID-19 crisis, helping to ease the burden of millions of Americans and businesses under quarantine. But that won’t stop the House Antitrust Subcommittee from dragging the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google before it today. The investigation will have a difficult time meeting the U.S. standard for antitrust: consumer harm.
  • Antitrust Tech Hearing Unlikely to Prove Useful

    July 23, 2020
    Monday’s upcoming House Antitrust Subcommittee hearing featuring CEOs from Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple may turn out to have very little to do with antitrust. Don’t be surprised if members of the Committee focus more on those emotionally charged issues than on antirust criteria.
  • New #NeverNeeded Paper: Price Gouging

    July 23, 2020
    Massive shortages happened almost instantly when it became clear that the coronavirus would require a nationwide lockdown. Both Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and an Amazon vice president have called for federal price gouging legislation. In a new paper, I explain that price gouging legislation is a bad idea, regardless of one’s feelings about price gouging.
  • How Narrowly Are We Going to Define Markets for Tech Antitrust?

    July 21, 2020
    One of the key points of contention in any antitrust analysis is defining the scope of the market in question. Ignoring existing competitors by narrowing the field of analysis does not make them disappear, however. In fact, proceeding ahead with antitrust action based on insufficiently wide views of the market in question generally has the opposite of its intended effect.
  • Is Apple a Bad Antitrust Apple?

    June 22, 2020
    The European Union announced last week that it is pursuing two antitrust probes against the tech giant. EU authorities are investigating whether Apple violated European competition laws through its App Store or Apple Pay. Those cases will likely require some fancy footwork from European antitrust enforcers, but winning a case against Apple stateside would be an even bigger lift.
  • Time for a Federal Price Gouging Law?

    May 15, 2020
    Amazon’s vice president of public policy calls for a federal price gouging law in a recent post over at Amazon’s in-house blog. This is a bad idea for several reasons. One is that there are already effective ways to reduce price gouging without regulation.
  • Antitrust Investigation of Amazon Won't Benefit Consumers

    April 29, 2020
    Launching another antitrust investigation into Amazon won’t benefit consumers. The U.S. antitrust law standard is consumer harm. To stretch antitrust investigations to include data, privacy, or protect the interests of competitors would rewrite law and introduce chaos.
  • Market Dynamics Will Force Zoom to Reform Faster and More effectively than Government Regulation

    April 21, 2020
    The videoconferencing service Zoom recently ran into some privacy concerns with leaked videos and hacked online meetings. Reaction has been swift and flawed from many politicians. The threat of regulation risks preventing the superior market correction that would otherwise take place.
  • Antitrust Policy #NeverNeeded and Dangerous in a Crisis

    April 1, 2020
    The Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission will now allow some collaboration between companies to address the corona virus health threat. They also warned a frazzled business community that certain practices could still land them in antitrust hot water. The uncertainty will prevent some ideas from being tried and deny citizens the benefits of what could have been.

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