In his July 30, 2020 article “Beating up on Big Tech is fun and easy. Restraining it will require rewriting the law.” Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein cites to AAI’s congressional testimony on the weak antitrust enforcement record in digital technology. From the article:
“Of course, any honest search for who is responsible for the rise of Big Tech would also include the members of Congress themselves, who for three decades have sat on their thumbs as judges infatuated with free-market ideology were allowed to so hollow out American antitrust law that regulators are now almost powerless to restrain the tech giants. At this point, only a major rewrite of the industrial era antitrust statutes can bring the tech titans to heel.
The outlines of such a revision are contained in a number of written submissions made to the House antitrust subcommittee, including one by a dozen of the country’s top antitrust economists and lawyers who conclude that “current antitrust doctrines are too limited to adequately protect competition … or stop anticompetitive conduct.” They lay out a series of changes in the law to reverse a series of court rulings that have opened the door to over-consolidation in virtually every sector of the economy, nowhere more so than in tech, where there is a natural tendency of customers to want use the same software, communicate on the same network or transact business on the same platform as everyone else.
While this “network effect” explains much of the winner-take-all competition in the tech sector, mergers and acquisitions have also played a role. The four companies represented at Wednesday’s hearings, along with Microsoft, have collectively bought 720 companies over the last 30 years, according to testimony from the American Antitrust Institute.”