Stay At Home Entertainment: Competition Content To Stream
We may not have many in-person events coming up, but there are plenty of webinars and podcasts to keep us entertained and informed. We rounded up some of the best online antitrust content for you to stream as you shelter in place.
Reforming Antitrust Policy For An Era Of Global Competitiveness
Webinar Hosted By The Information Technology And Innovation Foundation
ITIF President Robert Atkinson discusses the need for antitrust regulators to pay more attention to global markets, international competition, and innovation when evaluating mergers and antitrust policy. Guests include Aurelien Portuese, Senior Lecturer in Law at St. Mary’s University in London, and David Teece, Chairman and Principal Executive Officer at the Berkeley Research Group and professor at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.
Leading tech companies compete with each other on many fronts; “they are all in the same market of competing for people’s attention.” “Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Netflix, and other firms all constantly competing against another. This is because the digital world doesn’t respect boundaries and relevant markets. So those that jump to the conclusion that there is market power fail to understand the nature of competition in the digital economy. Moreover, as professor Portuese notes, the relevant market for many tech firms is the attention market: they are all in the same market of competing for people’s attention.”
Participants discussed a need to move away from market share as the key indicator of market power and instead toward firm capabilities and strengths. “As Teece noted, a handmaiden of dynamic competition is the concept of dynamic capabilities scale. Right now we look at strengths of firms in terms of market share which makes little sense. We do that because there is data available on it. But really what matters is a firm’s capabilities and strengths. In fact, scale may or may not strengthen dynamic capabilities.”
Should The Government Break Up Big Tech? A Soho Forum Debate
A Recorded Oxford-Style Debate Hosted By The Soho Forum
Debating the resolution that antitrust should take the initiative to control the size of big tech companies, Tim Wu of Columbia University argued the affirmative and Richard Epstein of NYU Law School argued the negative. Epstein prevailed in the debate, convincing 17.5% of the audience to change their minds to his point of view.
Companies that grow and become successful in their own right should not invite antitrust speculation, explains Epstein. “If you in fact are able to achieve your particular growth and expansion through acumen or through good luck, this is not an antitrust violation. It is in effect something which says that the reason you got where you got is not because you have monopoly power, but that you created opportunities for other individuals which were never available to you before.”
Epstein points out the landscape of competitors is constantly evolving. “These are amazingly dynamic markets, and the fact that you have dominant players today and dominant players ten years ago and dominant players ten years from now doesn’t mean you’re going to have the same dominant players at all of these times. The churn is every bit as important as the current consideration. Every current so-called monopolist knows that there is a sword of Damocles hanging over their heads which says ‘if we make a misstep, it will be our last step and somebody else will then come along.'”
Big Tech And Antitrust: A Discussion With Randal Picker
On The Technology Policy Institute’s Two Think Minimum Podcast
Randy Picker, antitrust expert and professor at the University of Chicago Law School, joins Tom Lenard, Senior Fellow and President Emeritus at the Technology Policy Institute, to discuss antitrust implications around the technology industry.
Many mergers result in an enhanced product, something society and consumers benefit from. “You can certainly have anti-competitive mergers, no question about that. But the other thing you see in is, you are getting assets, to hands that can use those assets more valuably.”
Data security is outside the scope of antitrust. “I want to separate those two. Those advantages might be things which are economies of scale and scope and the like. And your point there, Tom, is that’s not an antitrust issue. Again, you could decide from sort of a pure regulatory standpoint to do something about it, but it’s not obvious that that’s an antitrust issue.”