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The Dubious Antitrust Argument for Breaking Up the Internet Giants

Authors
  • Crandall, Robert W.1
  • 1 Technology Policy Institute, Washington DC, Jackson, NH, 03846, USA , Jackson (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Review of Industrial Organization
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Jan 29, 2019
Volume
54
Issue
4
Pages
627–649
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11151-019-09680-y
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Recent calls for using the antitrust laws to break up the large Internet giants are misplaced for a number of reasons. First, similar efforts against oil, tobacco, motion-picture, and telecommunications monopolies have not proved to be beneficial to economic welfare. Second, the failure to break up Microsoft using Section 2 has not proved to be a mistake: competition in operating systems and Internet browsers has flourished recently. Finally, a Section 2 case against Amazon, Facebook, or Google could not succeed if it focused on the digital advertising market. Even in a case based on market power on the other side of their platforms, a structural remedy—a break-up—would not improve economic welfare in the long run.

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