Antitrust law and big tech corporations
The degree of dominace and the scope that the big tech platforms such as Google and Facebook in the commerce and communication is large and still growing, causing real dangers. It is in this loight that Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz have decided to charge these corporations for using their immense scope and dominance to kill competition. Despite the availability of various ways of dealing with the dangers posed by the size and powers held by these corporations, there is a united voice on use of antitrust law to curb the situation.
However, the decision to use antitrust law to curb the size and powers possessed by these big tech corporations depends on ruling by the supreme court of the Ohio v. American express case. The case centres on the ways to analyse harmful conducts by firms that serve multiple group users. Despite the case being against a credit card firm, the law could be applied generally to also the tech giants. The case accuses the credit card companies for using oligopoly by imposing anticompetitive restrictions on the customers. The client hence cannot have any bargaining power and end up paying high rates. American Express is accused of imposing this restrictions on retailers that accept Amex cards. The retailers were advised not to accept any other card over American Express even if the card provided cheaper options to their customers.
The case was first ruled by the district which claimed that American Express had violated antitrust laws but it was overturned by the Second Circuit upon appeal by American Express based upon a concept that creates a special set of rules. The concepts states that there is a uniqueness in the nature of a two-sided market where the players serve different sets of consumers in a different but related markets. However, the case is now before the Supreme Court and if the Second Circuit is affirmed an antitrust immunity for these organisations will be created. The move will make use of antitrust laws against these huge tech companies difficult. In order to immunize dominant platforms from efficient antitrust review, when it is desperately needed, the Supreme Court should reject the Second Circuit’s approach.