House Hearing with Big Tech Companies Unwarranted on Antitrust Grounds

google-search-engine-on-macbook-pro-40185

The Subcommittee on Antitrust, Administrative and Commercial Law of the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing Wednesday noon on ““Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.” Competitive Enterprise Institute experts on technology policy point to the lack of good evidence for an orthodox antitrust case being made against any for the four firms and to the probability of the hearing devolving into political theater. 

Jessica Melugin, associate director of the Center for Technology and Innovation

“The orthodox antitrust cases against Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook that would need to show consumer harm are very weak. These companies may be big and have high market share, but they also offer many services for free, innovate rapidly, and compete vigorously against one another.

“Other concerns about big technology companies, including privacy, content moderation, election influence, and even general economic inequality, don’t have anything to do with U.S. antitrust law. Unfortunately, that won’t stop lawmakers from grandstanding on those emotionally charged issues to score political points – and lay the groundwork for legislation expanding antitrust regulation and spur calls for regulation from the companies’ competitors. All this would be to the detriment of the American consumer.”

Patrick Hedger, research fellow

“All four companies represented at the hearing compete with one another in countless ways. They all also compete with Microsoft across multiple market segments, a $1.5 trillion company not represented at the hearing. This all goes to show that the conventional antitrust case against these firms does not apply, and the House hearing amounts to an attempt to ‘MacGyver’ antitrust law to meet other political objectives. Conservatives should not grant legitimacy to this charade, or they will regret the day when antitrust law is used to bludgeon industries into adopting the progressive agenda.”

Wayne Crews, vice president for policy and senior fellow

“Congress has no business pressuring media outlets, social media platforms, or the public to promote or curtail politically disfavored viewpoints. Congress’s duty is to ensure the First Amendment freedom of competing viewpoints and not allow government to decide what constitutes ‘harmful content’ and shut down discourse.”