Showing 9 of 77 Publications

Lina Khan’s Christmas Wish Is To Have Margrethe Vestager’s Powers

TOTM Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan has just sent her holiday wishlist to Santa Claus. It comes in the form of a policy statement on unfair methods of competition (UMC) that the FTC approved last week by a 3-1 vote.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan has just sent her holiday wishlist to Santa Claus. It comes in the form of a policy statement on unfair methods of competition (UMC) that the FTC approved last week by a 3-1 vote. If there’s anything to be gleaned from the document, it’s that Khan and the agency’s majority bloc wish they could wield the same powers as Margrethe Vestager does in the European Union. Luckily for consumers, U.S. courts are unlikely to oblige.

Read the full piece here.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Dirk Auer on the EU’s Digital Markets Act

Presentations & Interviews ICLE Director of Competition Policy, Dirk Auer, joined TechFreedom’s Tech Policy Podcast to discuss why Europe has been pursuing aggressive antitrust enforcement against American tech . . .

ICLE Director of Competition Policy, Dirk Auer, joined TechFreedom’s Tech Policy Podcast to discuss why Europe has been pursuing aggressive antitrust enforcement against American tech companies. The full episode is embedded below.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Antitrust’s Uncertain Future Roundup: The Minority Report

TOTM Philip K Dick’s novella “The Minority Report” describes a futuristic world without crime. This state of the world is achieved thanks to the visions of . . .

Philip K Dick’s novella “The Minority Report” describes a futuristic world without crime. This state of the world is achieved thanks to the visions of three mutants—so-called “precogs”—who predict crimes before they occur, thereby enabling law enforcement to incarcerate people for crimes they were going to commit.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

The Woman in the High Office

TOTM After engineering stints at Apple and Motorola, developing various handheld devices, Rubin had set up his own shop. The idea was bold: develop the first open mobile platform—based on Linux, nonetheless. Rubin had pitched the project to Google in 2005 but given the regulatory uncertainty over the future of antitrust—the same wave of populist sentiment that would carry Klobuchar to office one year later—Schmidt and his team had passed.

May 2007, Palo Alto

The California sun shone warmly on Eric Schmidt’s face as he stepped out of his car and made his way to have dinner at Madera, a chic Palo Alto restaurant.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

What Have the Intermediaries Ever Done for Us?

Scholarship Intermediaries emerge when it would otherwise be too difficult (or too costly) for groups of users to meet and interact. There is thus no guarantee that government-mandated disintermediation — such as that contemplated in the European DMA and the U.S. AICOA bill — will generate net benefits in a given case.

Executive Summary

Intermediaries may not be the consumer welfare hero we want, but more often than not, they are one that we need. Policymakers often assume that intermediaries and centralization serve as a cost to society, and that consumers are better off when provided with “more choice.” Concrete expression of this view can be found in regulatory initiatives that aim to turn “closed” platforms into “open” ones (see, in Europe, the Digital Markets Act; and in the United States, the Open App Markets Act and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act). Against this backdrop, we explain that, as with all economic goods, intermediation involves tradeoffs. Intermediaries emerge when it would otherwise be too difficult (or too costly) for groups of users to meet and interact. There is thus no guarantee that government-mandated disintermediation — such as that contemplated in the European DMA and the U.S. AICOA bill — will generate net benefits in a given case. The ongoing Epic v Apple proceedings are a good example of why it is important to respect the role of intermediaries in digital markets, and the unique benefits intermediation can bring to consumers. The upshot is that intermediaries are far more valuable than they are usually given credit for.

Read the full issue brief here.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Attention Markets: They Know Them When they See Them

TOTM A raft of progressive scholars in recent years have argued that antitrust law remains blind to the emergence of so-called “attention markets,” in which firms compete by . . .

A raft of progressive scholars in recent years have argued that antitrust law remains blind to the emergence of so-called “attention markets,” in which firms compete by converting user attention into advertising revenue. This blindness, the scholars argue, has caused antitrust enforcers to clear harmful mergers in these industries.

Read the full piece here.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

The Open App Markets Act

TL;DR The U.S. Senate is considering legislation—S. 2710, the Open App Markets Act—that would, among other restrictions, bar app stores from requiring app developers to use the store’s own in-app payment system.

Background…

The U.S. Senate is considering legislation—S. 2710, the Open App Markets Act—that would, among other restrictions, bar app stores from requiring app developers to use the store’s own in-app payment system. The bill was introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who has argued that it would “open the app economy to new competitors and give mobile users more control over their own devices.”

But…

The app store market is competitive and mobile users already have a choice of relatively open and relatively closed platforms. More open platforms, like the Google Play store, offer users the benefits of greater customization and a broader range of apps and payment options. More closed platforms, such as Apple’s App Store, foreclose some of these options, but instead promise users greater privacy and security and a more curated experience that can ensure better device operation. 

Moreover…

Requiring closed platforms to allow the use of alternative payment options would see large developers and rival payment processors get the benefit of the app store’s investments without paying for them. The Open App Markets Act would substitute regulatory fiat for consumer choice, sacrificing the benefits currently enjoyed by many consumers.

Read the full explainer here.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

10 Things the American Innovation and Choice Online Act Gets Wrong

TOTM The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to debate S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (or AICOA) during a markup session Thursday. If passed into law, the . . .

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to debate S. 2992, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (or AICOA) during a markup session Thursday. If passed into law, the bill would force online platforms to treat rivals’ services as they would their own, while ensuring their platforms interoperate seamlessly.

Read the full piece here.

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection

Intermediaries: The Hero We Need?

TOTM In policy discussions about the digital economy, a background assumption that frequently underlies the discourse is that intermediaries and centralization always and only serve as a cost to . . .

In policy discussions about the digital economy, a background assumption that frequently underlies the discourse is that intermediaries and centralization always and only serve as a cost to consumers, and to society more generally. Thus, one commonly sees arguments that consumers would be better off if they could freely combine products from different trading partners. According to this logic, bundled goods, walled gardens, and other intermediaries are always to be regarded with suspicion, while interoperability, open source, and decentralization are laudable features of any market.

Read the full piece here.

 

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Antitrust & Consumer Protection