The Antitrust report

Episode Notes

  • Antitrust hearings happened a few months ago
  • 449 pages
  • Google has the most scrutiny and produced 1 million pages of documents
  • Apple largely doesn’t belong there
  • The report overlooks the benefits of the company
  • Tobacco companies did similar “document dumps”
  • DOJ is planning a lawsuit
  • REally underlines the need for new laws here

Sick burn

There’s a lot in here to digest and I haven’t had a chance to read much of the actual report myself but I did listen to this episode and read the article on the verge about it so here goes.

Overall it seems like most people on both sides of the aisle agree that something should be done with these companies AND that current anti-trust law is not sufficient to do what needs to be done. How to handle the problem is where republicans and democrats seem to disagree.

This line stood out to me as potentially problematic solution

Under this change, any acquisition by a dominant platform would be presumed anticompetitive unless the merging parties could show that the transaction was necessary for serving the public interest

That, as written would preclude almost all “exits” by startups, without that potential exit or if that exit started to seem much less likely, almost all of the early stage investment would disappear. Which basically means most startups would also disappear.

In addition heavy limits on mergers and acquisitions, new rules would also limit a tech company’s ability to continue to expand its technology into new areas of business. Google is the most obvious case to point to here. Google search results are so much more than the 10 blue links they started as but to read some of this it sounds like they would want to limit googles ability to innovate in that space.

It’s very clear this is going to be an important and ongoing fight in the years ahead. I dont expect any real changes anytime soon but I do expect to have actual bills in the next 6 months. This is an area to pay a lot more attention to because its a really interesting balance to strike. I just hope whoever is in charge of drafting these laws starts to realize these companies arent all bad either, and that any changes they propose should walk delicately on the line between limiting innovation and protecting it.