Law Center Provides Guide to Big Tech Hearing

The International Center for Law & Economics (ICLE) has provided a handy issue guide for the House Judiciary Committee's highly anticipated hearing Wednesday (July 29) on "Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google."

It is part of the committee's examination of whether Big Tech bought its way to monopoly or uses that power anticompetitively. 

The hearing had initially been scheduled for Monday (July 27), but was moved to high noon Wednesday. 

ICLE has identified the following to look at:  

1. "Competition and concentration: an unclear connection. Concentration is a poor measure of competition, because large businesses can be better for consumers than small ones. And concentration isn’t even rising in the ways that would matter. 

2. "Competition in digital platform markets: a question of definitions. Competition is strong in digital markets, but traditional antitrust tools may miss competitive nuances in these markets. 

3. "Vertical integration: economies of scope. Vertical integration allows businesses to innovate more. It may be bad for certain competitors, but it is rarely bad for competition. 

4. "Self-preferencing: building an ecosystem. "[S]elf-preferencing” is a normal part of how platforms operate, both to improve the value of their core product and to make money from it so that they have a reason to keep investing in it. 

5. "Killer acquisitions: an exit strategy for founders.  Being acquired is how many startup founders and investors expect to make money. If you make that harder you’ll get fewer startups. 

6. "Access to data: not the barrier it's thought to be. Data doesn’t create a barrier to entry, but privacy regulations might."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.