New Antitrust Thinking Isn’t a Return to the Good Old Days

American Action Forum

Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft. These are America’s five most valuable tech companies, and they have a public policy challenge in common: antitrust. When antitrust makes headlines, it’s often because one of these five companies is looking to buy a smaller firm or facing some sort of investigation from the Federal Trade Commission or Department of Justice. Although antitrust usually comes up in the context of a specific transaction or probe, a growing movement of activists and commentators is urging policymakers to rethink the framework by which antitrust regulators scrutinize how big businesses behave and when they can enter into mergers or acquisitions. This movement, deemed “neo-Brandeisian” for its adherence to Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’s fear of the “curse of bigness,” seeks to restore the antitrust approach that prevailed in the mid-20th century of condemning market concentration and large businesses as illegal and harmful. America’s top tech companies are squarely in the crosshairs of this proposed policy shift.

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