ICYMI: Assistant AG Delrahim — Antitrust Is Already Effective When Dealing With A Thriving Tech Sector
At State of the Net 2019 in Washington, D.C. yesterday, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim expressed a different view to Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and reminded critics of the strength of the consumer welfare standard and the need for caution in enforcement. Highlights from his fireside chat with Variety’s Ted Johnson, as well as other support, below.
Highlights from AAG Makan Delrahim’s comments below.
On The Consumer Welfare Standard…
—”I think you have consensus, largely, not only amongst enforcers in the United States, but internationally about what the ultimate goal [of antitrust] should be.”
—The goal of antitrust is to “protect competition, not competitors.”
—The government should not be stepping in “to pick winners or losers, or determining what price is the right price.”
— “We may not have had what we have todayhad those transactions [like Google/Youtube and Facebook/Instagram] not occurred, and that’s sometimes the pro-competitive benefits of mergers.”
—”Would YouTube be what it is today without the investment, the search engine, the technical capabilities that was provided to YouTube when Google bought them?”
On Innovation And Competition…
—”We should be very careful about broader government regulation in the [tech] industry. I think the country has benefited quite a bit; look at the innovation we have in this country compared to many others.”
—”I’m not a huge fan of forcing companies to share the data they’ve collected just because it would create more competition.”
—On the difference between data and finite currency: “Some people equate personal information to currency in evaluating the antitrust implications in the new markets,” but, as Delrahim explains, “I don’t think that’s the appropriate way of looking at it.“
On Tech Critics And Cautious Regulation…
—”It’s really easy to get a headline by saying Company X is bad, just because they’re too big, because it’s very popular to say that.”
—Hasty regulation “actually creates a moat around [incumbents’] market power and increases the costs of any new entrant, new competition, from coming in. So I think we need to be careful about how we craft those things.”
Delrahim’s comments echo findings that the tech startup scene is thriving.
—As this Crunchbase analysis finds, 2018 was “one heck of a year” for venture investment in tech, with the most money invested in the highest number of private tech company financing events ever and the largest VC deals in history. More on this from Springboard here.
—Artificial intelligence startups are some of the fastest growing. From January 2015 to January 2018, the AI Index 2018 from Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Initiative finds active AI startups increased 2.1 times while total active startups increased 1.3 times. Graph below:
—Plus, VC funding for AI startups increased by 4.5 times from 2013 to 2017, while all VC funding increased 2.08 times.
—According to Oliver Wyman, venture investment in the tech sector is vibrant and leading tech services’ success doesn’t lead to the mythical “kill-zone” in startup investment. More from Springboard on this here.