Friday, June 14, 2019
Keith Hylton, BU tackles Digital Platforms and Antitrust Law.
ABSTRACT: This is a paper about “big data” and antitrust law. For my purposes, big data refers to digital platforms that enable the discovery and sharing of information by consumers, and the harvesting and analysis of data on those consumers by the platform. The obvious example of such a platform is Google. The big platforms owe their market dominance not to anticompetitive conduct but to economies of scale. I discuss three types of anticompetitive conduct associated with digital platforms: kill zone expropriation, acquisition of nascent rivals, and denial of access to data. There is nothing so unusual about digital platforms that would require a reform of the antitrust laws. Some are described as two-sided markets, but this designation, even after Ohio v. Amex, should not present an obstacle to the application of antitrust law.