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amazon and the platform power problem
understanding the emergence of internet platforms and the dangers they currently pose to markets
updated / altered : Oct 24 2018
A long, dry — but not unreadable — discussion of some of the developments in law, on one hand, and failures of law to keep pace with developments in technology, on the other, through which large swaths of the economy are coming under the control of companies that have risen through owning the internet platforms which now ‘mediate a large and growing share of our commerce and communications’:
Although platforms form the backbone of the internet economy, the way that platform economics implicates existing laws is relatively undertheorized. Amazon’s conduct suggests that predatory pricing and integration across related business lines are emerging as key paths to establishing dominance — aided by the control over data that dominant platforms enjoy. But because current predatory pricing doctrine defines recoupment in overly narrow terms, competitors generally have not been able to make an effective legal case. Similarly, because current doctrine largely discounts entry barriers, the anticompetitive effects of vertical integration are difficult to cognize under the existing framework.
Read the whole, ‘Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,’ by Lina M. Khan, at Yale Law Journal. The paper can be read on the site or downloaded as a PDF.