Springboard’s Top 10 Of 2020
A year unlike any other, 2020 brought with it unprecedented challenges for many Americans. But it also demonstrated our collective resilience, with many Americans transitioning to working fully from home. And because 2020 also brought with it a flurry of activity in tech and competition policy, it proved to be a very busy year for Springboard.
Here are 10 of our highlights from 2020:
1. Hearing From The Experts At CES 2020. To start off the year, tech regulators and experts met at CES to discuss a variety of trends in technology, including regulation and enforcement. A common theme across their comments: enforcement should be more about facts, and less about politics. More.
2. Reinforcing The Notion That Change Is The Only Constant In Tech. In February, we rewound the clock to answer the question: is innovation really the best antitrust policy? It turns out that unfounded claims of market dominance were leveled at the tech leaders of yesterday, too, before innovation and market forces toppled seemingly invincible incumbents and radically changed markets.
A case in point: iTunes was described as a “monopoly” in 2010 for its hold on the “music download market” – only to be thrown into marginal relevance by the emergence of streaming and competitors such as Spotify. More.
3. Debunking The Myth Of The Kill Zone. In March, we dissected the notorious “kill zone” argument and found what many Founders already know: rather than stifling competition, the success of “Big Tech” has coincided with record-breaking venture financing for startups in the U.S. In many ways, it has never been easier for new entrants to compete and grow. And for many Founders, acquisition is the goal, providing them with a return on their investment and capital to start new ventures. More.
4. Multihoming At Home. As many Americans transitioned to working from home in April, we took a closer ook at how Americans are taking advantage of tech tools. It turns out many are “multihoming,” taking full advantage of the multiple options at their disposal rather than relying on one tool or service. It’s this consumer willingness to switch that has enabled newer entrants such as Zoom and Disney+ to rapidly disrupt their respective markets. More.
5. Exploring How Antitrust Works In An Economic Downturn. We set the record straight on some misconceptions regarding antitrust in an economic downturn. Regulatory merger reviews remain thorough during times of crisis, but antitrust laws are flexible enough to recognize that some firms may seek to merge with healthier rivals to better position themselves for the future. The bottom line: arbitrary merger bans ignore basic economic incentives and would harm businesses. More.
6. Taking A Look At The History Of The Consumer Welfare Standard. In May, we put into historical context a term often heard in antitrust discussions: the consumer welfare standard. The standard, which has acted as the bedrock of antitrust law since the 1970s, provided a much-needed dose of empirical objectivity to an antitrust regime that was previously inconsistent and economically damaging. More.
7. Asking Americans How They Feel About Tech In The Age Of Covid-19. In July, CCIA and Morning Consult polled Americans to gain a better understanding of Americans’ perceptions of tech during the pandemic and, as it turns out, Americans overwhelmingly support the positive impact of tech companies addressing COVID-19. More.
8. Explaining The Value Of Data, Over Lunch. What is “data,” and what is it worth? We took a deep dive to answer that question in September, finding that the value of data can be well explained by a metaphorical trip to your favorite sandwich shop. An example: “The cook notices you have switched it up recently by ordering no-meat sandwiches. She takes the liberty to recommend the new vegetarian options on the menu to accommodate your changing tastes. Data on past preferences has only limited utility as consumer preferences and behavior change over time.” More.
9. Keeping Track Of The Ways Retailers Are Taking Advantage Of Tech. With the holiday shopping season around the corner in late November, we took a closer look at how retailers are taking advantage of tech tools to reach consumers during the pandemic. Consumer demand for online reached a new peak, and both small businesses and legacy retailers aggressively ramped up their digital capabilities to reach customers. More.
10. Taking Stock Of The Big Disruptors Of 2020. To close out the year, we looked back at the biggest tech disruptors of 2020. Consumer choice pushed some new entrants to the top of hyper-competitive industries, with older incumbents investing heavily to keep up. More.