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Google, Facebook, and Amazon benefit from an outdated definition of “monopoly”

Quartz: “…big tech companies have amassed so much power that even Apple CEO Tim Cook has called for stricter regulations to be placed on them. Google owns 92% market share of internet searches, Facebook an almost 70% share of social networks. Both have a duopoly in advertising with no credible competition or regulation. Amazon, meanwhile, is crushing retailers and faces conflicts of interest as both the dominant e-commerce seller and the leading online platform for third-party sellers. Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android completely control the mobile app market, and they determine whether businesses can reach their customers and on what terms. So why hasn’t the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) taken action to break up these companies?

I believe that an outdated interpretation of antitrust law is partly to blame. For decades the standard for evaluating whether to break up monopolies, or block the mergers that create them, has been “consumer welfare.” And this consumer welfare standard has predominantly been interpreted as low prices. If companies can show that a merger or acquisition would not impact prices, for the most part, they win approval. But in the context of technology companies—which often offer “free” platforms and instead sell user attention as their product—this low-prices-focused paradigm makes no sense…”

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