MultiChannel News covered the major takeaways from the recent Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on competition in digital technology markets in “Big Tech: Senate Drills Down on Potential Serial (Innovation) Killers.” From the article:
Diana Moss, president of the American Antitrust Institute, suggested antitrust enforcement has been weak and more attention needed to be paid to mergers “that are not reportable under the HSR requirements and smaller, reportable transactions that are likely to fly below the antitrust radar.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said the hearing was prompted by lack of agency action on start-up purchases. Moss said her institute looked at 700 mergers by the Big Five tech firms, with only one of those challenged. She said factors in underenforcment is that agencies have not been creative in applying the tools they have.
Moss argued that while business so consumer deals have gotten all the attention, the “big swaths” of serial acquisitions are not in social media, but data analytics, AI, cloud computing, and other B2B transactions that she said have been “flying under the radar” and need to be looked at.
Moss said interoperability promotes consumer switching and allows rivals to operate on a platform without fear of discrimination, but she said it could be hard to implement and structural remedies, like break-ups, are the most effective remedies, and the easiest to enforce.
She said she was heartened by the FTC tech task force, but has yet to see any cases coming out of that investigation.