Geoffrey Manne on Credit Card Fees Case in Bloomberg Technology

Bloomberg Technology, reporting on a case in front of the Supreme Court that has large implications for antitrust law, quoted ICLE Executive Director Geoffrey Manne:

Two-sided markets are especially common on the internet. Facebook serves its free users and its advertisers; Uber Technologies Inc. balances the marketplace for drivers against one for riders. Any ruling setting aside special consideration for two-sided marketplaces would be a huge boon to Silicon Valley. Uber could, say, ban drivers from working with Lyft Inc., or Amazon could make sellers charge lower prices on its platform than anywhere else.

Even the most extreme scenarios could be immune to antitrust complaints if the tech platforms could argue that benefits accrue to someone else, said Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School. “Don’t you realize you’re insulating a whole class of business from the reach of the law?” he said.

Not everyone thinks this would be a bad thing. Geoffrey Manne, executive director of the International Center for Law & Economics, a research group, acknowledged that the Supreme Court may make it harder to bring cases alleging anti-competitive behavior by tech companies. “But ‘harder to bring a case’ isn’t the right metric,” he said. “The right metric is, ‘Does it make it harder to bring a good case?’—not, ‘Does it make it easier to win a bad one?’”

Read the full article.