Take Google, a company that’s only ever made one and a half successful products (a great search-engine and a pretty good Hotmail clone), whose growth beyond those products was entirely driven through mergers and acquisitions. How could Google get away with behavior of the sort that put Microsoft through nine years’ worth of antitrust hell, just a decade before Google was founded?https://locusmag.com/2020/01/cory-doctorow-inaction-is-a-form-of-action/
The answer is that since the Reagan years, big business and its advocates in the US government and judiciary have been steadily “reforming” antitrust law on lines proposed by the disgraced economist Robert Bork (the guy who was denied a Supreme Court seat for his complicity in Nixon’s crimes). Bork argued that the only time the US should wield its antitrust authority was when there was clear evidence of “consumer harms” in the form of higher prices in the immediate aftermath of an anti-competitive action.
Bork’s doctrine is ridiculous, and the only thing more ridiculous is that it’s become mainstream in US political and economic thinking. If you’re wondering how the No Politics Diner could be allowed to buy all its rivals and use its market power to crush small farmers and any holdouts who wouldn’t sell, thank Robert Bork. So long as NPD isn’t raising prices, Bork’s antitrust has nothing to say about it. And if NPD is using its investors’ cash to subsidize meals and sell them below cost to corner the market, so much the better! (If you’ve wondered how Uber and Lyft can get away with losing 41 cents on every dollar they charge you, now you know).
The US Department of Justice will reportedly review Google’s November acquisition of wearables company Fitbit, potentially probing concerns about the detailed user data that Fitbit would give Google.#technology #Google #FitBit #antitrust #DOJ #security #privacy
The private emails of many top technology CEOs may be called in for investigation as part of a major US government antitrust investigation.#technology #Facebook #Apple #Amazon #antitrust #anticompetition
The likes of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple chief Tim Cook and Amazon founder and world's richest man Jeff Bezos could all be scrutinised by officials concerned about anti-competition practices.
Next week, more than half of the nation's attorneys general are expected to announce an antitrust investigation into Google, The Washington Post reports. Details on the investigation are limited, but it's yet another probe into fears that big tech has amassed too much power.#technology #Google #antitrust #legal