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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 27, 2020
The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recently hosted its latest virtual event, “Reforming Antitrust Policy for an Era of Global Competitiveness.” ITIF President Rob Atkinson set up the discussion with the premise that European Union and United States antitrust policy may need to change—that is, loosen—to accommodate the consolidation of national champion-type firms in China.
March 4, 2020
Free-market advocates are understandably skeptical of “stakeholder” capitalism—the idea that corporate managers should focus not just on returns to shareholders, but on pleasing a potentially long list of other groups that claim an interest in the operations (and on the profits) of a company. Any given board and management team can apportion their own resources as they see fit, of course, but we small-government types are wary of theoretically voluntary guidelines for social and environmental awareness being transformed into binding legal requirements down the road.
March 3, 2020
Calls to regulate “big tech” firms continue to grow louder. Concerns range from the ability of these firms to influence the political landscape to allegations of anti-competitive mergers and acquisitions. Regardless of the specific gripe, the accompanying purported solutions almost universally involve more government regulation. However, these sentiments are just the latest versions of a problem that has plagued antitrust law since its inception: the relevant market fallacy.
February 19, 2020
PBS’s Frontline aired its documentary, “Amazon Empire: The Rise and Reign of Jeff Bezos,” last night. While the tone of the piece was markedly suspicious, it didn’t offer up any new information to indicate antitrust concerns against the online retailer have any merit.
February 13, 2020
Competition is an ongoing discovery process. The reason firms exist is not to enable or restrict competition. It is to reduce transaction costs. There is no magic number of firms that accomplishes that goal.