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OpenMarket: Antitrust and Competition

  • Antitrust Basics: Misleading Herfindahl-Hirschman Index

    July 1, 2019
    Market concentration is the most common reason for antitrust intervention. If a company has too large a market share, it can abuse that market power to raise prices, restrict output, and engage in all manner of anti-competitive business practices. A merger that would create a dominant player or significantly reduce the number of competitors is likely to be blocked. But how should market concentration be measured?
  • More to Like in Zuckerberg's Aspen Talk Than Not

    June 27, 2019
    Yesterday at the Aspen Ideas Festival, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg touched on some of the most pressing issues facing his company and big tech as a whole. While his continued calls for government regulation of social media companies and other online services are dismaying, many of the principles Zuckerberg laid out represent exactly why such government intervention is not necessary and likely won’t produce better results.
  • If Facebook and Apple are Feuding, How Are they Monopolies?

    June 25, 2019
    An article in today’s Wall Street Journal recapped a recent war-of-words between a European Facebook executive, Nick Clegg, and Apple CEO Tim Cook. At issue is the differing revenue models of the companies. Apple sells devices and subscription-based services. Facebook of course does not charge for the services it provides users and instead relies on advertising revenue.
  • Antitrust Basics: Relevant Market Fallacy

    June 24, 2019
    If a firm is charged with having market power, the question naturally arises: in which market? Does Facebook have a monopoly over social networking, especially now that it owns additional networks such as Instagram and WhatsApp? Or does Facebook compete with other uses of leisure time such as movies, television, books, sports, concerts, and countless other ways people can spend their time? Which is the more relevant market? The answer is subjective—a significant problem for a legal case with multi-billion dollar stakes.
  • Introducing Antitrust Basics

    June 17, 2019
    Often, a drips-and-drabs approach to learning an issue over a period of time is as effective as a single intense cram session. To that end, this post inaugurates a series to familiarize readers over time with the basics of antitrust regulation. This is important because the current antitrust revival is reaching a fever pitch.
  • State Officials, Department of Justice Should Green-Light Sprint-T-Mobile Merger

    June 12, 2019
    Yesterday’s filing by ten state attorneys general to block the proposed merger of wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint is the latest threat to the innovations American consumers deserve and that the unfettered marketplace is striving to deliver—if only government regulators will stay out of the way.  
  • Will Antitrust End Trump's Deregulatory Push?

    June 3, 2019
    Revelations that antitrust enforcers have conspired to divide jurisdiction and initiate antitrust investigations into Google and Apple (the U.S. Department of Justice) and Amazon and Facebook (the Federal Trade Commission) could well cement the end of Donald Trump claiming the mantle of a deregulatory president.
  • Federal Communications Commission Wisely Steps out of Way of Sprint/T-Mobile Merger

    May 20, 2019
    Today the Federal Communications Commission signaled it will likely vote to approve the merger of Sprint and T-Mobile.
  • Costs of Antitrust Regulation and Institutionalization of Raising Competitors' Costs

    May 20, 2019
    Antitrust policy is corporate welfare, a prominent illustration of how regulation, not just spending, enables and encourages transfers of wealth by force.
  • White House Uses Discredited Complaints Tactic against Social Media Companies

    May 16, 2019
    My colleague Wayne Crews has already slammed the White House for a first step towards government regulation of online speech in its “tech bias” complaints portal. It is interesting that the administration has followed the model of the problematic Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in simply collecting complaints as proof of problems with the industry concerned.

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