Amazon is not essential, except to the EU’s flawed investigations

Amazon has largely avoided the crosshairs of antitrust enforcers to date (leaving aside the embarrassing dangerous threats of arbitrary enforcement by some US presidential candidates). The reasons seem obvious: in the US it handles a mere 5% of all retail sales (with lower shares in the EU), and it consistently provides access to a wide array of affordable goods.

STRUCTURALIST INNOVATION: A SHAKY LEGAL PRESUMPTION IN NEED OF AN OVERHAUL

How does a market’s structure affect innovation? This crucial question has occupied the world’s brightest economists for almost a century, from Schumpeter who found that monopoly was optimal, through Arrow who concluded that competitive market structures were key, to the endogenous growth scholars who empirically derived an inverted-U relationship between market concentration and innovation.

Fine is Only One Click Away

In a US Senate Hearing in 2011, Eric Schmidt, Google’s CEO, stated that ‘competition is only one click away’. On 27 June 2017, the European Commission fined Google €2.42 billion for allegedly ‘abusing dominance as search engine by giving illegal advantage to own comparison shopping service’. Ruthlessly, a fine is only one click away too.