Post Root Rot in Tech Antitrust Policy

Mergers often scare people, especially antitrust experts. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods in 2017 scared Queens College of the City University of New York Professor Douglas Rushkoff, who said allowing such mergers is a threat “to our markets, our economy, and even our planet.” Former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Robert Pitofsky was worried that the merger of America Online (AOL) and Time Warner in 2000 would foreclose rivals from new broadband technologies. Economic Policy Institute experts predicted that a merger between MCI and Sprint would lead to an “increase in market power.”

These fears look silly in retrospect. Whole Foods is falling behind Kroger, Walmart, and other rivals. AOL and Time Warner didn’t keep up with the fast-evolving tech markets and split within a few years. The markets MCI and Sprint were to dominate disappeared when cellular and broadband networks erased distance as a relevant telecommunications market.

Read Dr. Jamison’s complete blog post at AEI.