Will antitrust investigations or legislative hearings inspire creativity and competition in the tech industry? The opposite outcome is far more likely, argues WLF Senior Litigation Counsel Corbin K. Barthold at Truth on the Market.
House Judiciary subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline has said that the federal government’s antitrust action against Microsoft created “space” for “additional innovation and competition.” At a hearing before his subcommittee last Wednesday, that attitude was on full display. As Corbin explains, it’s an easy attitude to hold in hindsight. But the more logical outcome of harassment is lost opportunity. He elaborates:
“If distraction is an end in itself, last week’s Big Tech hearing before Cicilline and his subcommittee was a smashing success. Presumably Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai, and Mark Zuckerberg would like to spend the balance of their time developing the next big innovations and staying ahead of smart, capable, ruthless competitors, starting with each other and including foreign firms such as ByteDance and Huawei. Last week they had to put their aspirations aside to prepare for and attend five hours of political theater.”
Instead of exploring some legitimate concerns, the committee members appeared more interested in “concocting sick burns” that would attract social-media attention. True, Corbin points out, the members’ contrived grievances would “attract clicks on the very platforms built, facilitated, and delivered” by the very tech companies whose CEOs appeared at the hearing. But that does not make the hearing a good use of anyone’s time. Quite the contrary.
Read the whole piece here.