Competition regulators around the world are (slowly) coming to terms with the fact that traditional wisdom in antitrust doesn’t apply to the tech industry. The latest country to contend with this fact was Taiwan. The details are not yet available, but it appears that the country’s Fair Trade Commission decided late last month that Google benefits customers when it offers its own services to users of the company’s search engine. This is how it is with tech: Discrimination can be good, bigger can be better, undercutting rivals can make markets work better, and things move so fast that markets more often than not punish bad acts on their own.
We are on the cusp of a new era in information technology. While consumers and entrepreneurs are excited to explore the potential capabilities and applications that lie within it, regulators in the US and Europe are fighting back. Fueled by strong skepticism of technological progress, at least by established tech companies, these regulators could end up banishing western economies into the backwaters of the information age.