Antitrust

As U.S. competition authorities ponder whether age-old antitrust laws should be modernized to apply to tech giants, a first-order question is: What existing antitrust laws apply to their conduct? A formerly formida­ble tool that has been defanged through lax enforcement is the Robinson–Patman Act (RPA). Passed by Congress in 1936, the RPA was drafted in response to a growing public concern that large chain stores were squeezing out small businesses....

Introduction In Apple Inc. v. Pepper, the Supreme Court held that consumers who allegedly paid too much for apps sold on Apple’s App Store because of an antitrust violation could sue Apple for damages because they were “di­rect purchasers.” The decision sidesteps most of the bizarre complexities that have resulted from the Supreme Court’s 1977 […]

Recent advances in machine learning have reinforced the competitive position of leading online platforms. This Essay identifies two important sources of platform rivalry and proposes ways to maximize their competitive potential under existing antitrust law. A nascent competitor is a threatening new entrant that, in time, might become a full-fledged platform rival. A platform’s acquisition of a nascent competitor should be prohibited as an unlawful...

A handful of digital platforms mediate a growing share of online commerce and communications. By structuring access to markets, these firms function as gatekeepers for billions of dollars in economic activity. One feature dominant digital platforms share is that they have inte­grated across business lines such that they both operate a platform and market their own goods and services on it. This structure places domi­nant platforms in direct competition...