What’s wrong with anti-competitive behavior in big tech?
Anti-competitive behavior on the part of big tech creates an un-elected technocracy
Big tech companies like Google and Facebook are under investigation for antitrust by the the FTC and the DOJ. The allegations are that these companies engage in anti-competitive behavior.
Competition creates winners and losers. Those who compete, compete to win, and annihilating the competition has worked well for big tech — so much so — that it is accused of antritust violations.
But what’s wrong with winning? Why punish a company for being successful by stamping out competition? Isn’t that the whole point — to dominate your market?
Contrary to popular belief, monopolies are legal in the United States. A company can rise above the competition when it offers superior goods or services that nobody else can provide.
“It is not illegal for a company to have a monopoly, to charge ‘high prices,’ or to try to achieve a monopoly position by aggressive methods,” according to the FTC.
However, there is a Catch-22.
“A company violates the law only if it tries to maintain or acquire a monopoly through unreasonable methods.”
That means a company can legally have a monopoly, but it can’t legally maintain or acquire one through “unreasonable methods,” so what are those methods?
Determining the difference between anti-competitive behavior and just smart business practice is a slippery slope.
In antitrust cases, it is important to look at what is being protected — competition itself or the losing competitors who cry anti-competition.
Equally as important is the general public — what businesses call the consumer. How can anti-competitive behavior on the part of a big tech company negatively affect the consumer?
These questions are at the heart of the antitrust investigations into big tech. What constitutes “unreasonable methods,” what parties are ultimately affected, and how?
When the consumer is negatively affected by anti-competitive behavior, or when all competition is either threatened, bought-out, acquired, or merged, the company is treading on antritust.
When a company acts tyrannical in denying the entry of a competing company into the market space, it begins to wade into anti-competitive waters.
Likewise, when a company self-serves by blocking competition while favoring its own products and services, which may or not be inferior to the competition, it is traversing in antitrust territory.
When illegal, anti-competitive practices are in place. the consumer gets screwed from a lack of options, the competition complains, and innovation is stifled.
The antitrust accusations against big tech have far-reaching implications on society at large because its greatest commodity is data.
By owning and controlling data on billions of people, big tech knows more about you and I than we know about ourselves.
This gives big tech incredible power and influence to sway public opinion with barely any accountability. It does so by controlling the data and controlling what information you and I can access.