DAVE ROSS

Seattle U prof on what to expect from the government’s antitrust crackdown

Jun 5, 2019, 3:01 PM
antitrust...
(AP)
(AP)

Should the U.S. government break up Amazon and Google? That’s the question plenty of politicians — particularly candidates for president — are raising about a handful of tech companies.

Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple are currently being scrutinized by government agencies. Antitrust expert Professor John Kirkwood at Seattle University joined Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross to explain why the business practices of these companies are being looked at now.

“What’s causing this is both politics and economics. Politically both from the left and the right there’s rising concern about the power of these giant firms,” he said. “And economically we’re increasingly realizing that America has a market power problem and it ought to ramp up anti-trust enforcement.”

Is there anti-competitive practice going on here that’s similar to the actions taken against Microsoft to force them to separate Explorer from the operating system?

Two major challenges facing Bellevue as Amazon moves in

“There aren’t, to my knowledge, any allegations that any of these big four firms are trying to stifle competition with their basic service like Google in search or Amazon in online retail,” Professor Kirkwood said. “The allegations that I’m aware of have to do with much smaller kinds of activities, for example that Amazon may have prevented firms from competing with its private label products, or that Google is skewing its search results to favor its travel services over a competing travel service.”

Professor Kirkwood believes this could be good news for startup companies, as well as consumers.

Bezos spending $2 billion on homelessness, education

“I think it’s good news for consumers because I think the agencies are going to try to do this on the merits, and I don’t think investors should be terribly worried at this point, despite the impact on the stock so far,” he said. “It’s probably unlikely that anything major is going to happen to any of these companies.”

What would potentially happen is that Google might be required to not discriminate in favor of its own products. With Facebook, the government could examine whether its acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp should not have been allowed, and Apple might be scrutinized to see whether its app store were operated in a way that discriminates against competitors.

Amazon backing out of plans to build HQ2 in New York

Regardless, Professor Kirkwood doesn’t believe this is about the Trump administration trying to bite back, and that this will be decided on the merits of these companies’ conduct.

“There’s not only not any evidence that the White House got involved here, but that the people running the antitrust division and the FTC are accomplished professionals who are going to make these decisions almost certainly on the merits.”

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News weekday mornings from 5-9 a.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Radio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Radio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

Impatient drivers...
Dave Ross

Ross: A toll-based solution for the Puget Sound region’s impatient drivers

Over the past few weekends, I’ve come to realize that at least when it comes to weekend driving, I can’t compete anymore.
19 hours ago
Mudhoney...
MyNorthwest Staff

Mudhoney bassist and nurse: ‘COVID has touched everything,’ even music

Guy Maddison, the bassist for Mudhoney, is also a supervising nurse at Harborview. He shares the impact COVID has had on his life.
3 days ago
Steve Bannon...
Dave Ross

Ross: The person who really needs to testify about Jan. 6 riot isn’t Steve Bannon

Steve Bannon may be the one summoned to testify in Congress about Jan. 6, but there's someone else who has more to answer for.
4 days ago
Freedom, vaccine mandate...
Dave Ross

Ross: Freedom requires level of unselfishness many in our country don’t have

Total freedom requires a level of unselfishness that doesn't come naturally for a lot of people, as we've seen firsthand with the state vaccine mandate.
5 days ago
car tabs, Orting...
Dave Ross

Ross: Did you vote for I-976 car tab cuts in 2019? Wish granted

While a vaccine mandate cost the ferry system 7% of its staff, let’s remember this is happening in a state that was ready to impose bigger cuts two years ago.
6 days ago
Vaccine...
Dave Ross

Ross: May we live long and prosper with our vaccine choices

Talk show host Dennis Praeger decided to put it all on the line to prove he’s right about vaccines.
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Medicare open enrollment for 2022 starts Oct. 15 and SHIBA can help!

Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner SPONSORED — Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, also called the Annual Election Period, is Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. During this time, people enrolled in Medicare can: Switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan and vice versa. Join, drop or switch a Part D prescription drug plan, […]
...

How to Have a Stress-Free Real Estate Experience

The real estate industry has adapted and sellers are taking full advantage of new real estate models. One of which is Every Door Real Estate.
...
IQ Air

How Poor Air Quality Is Affecting Our Future Athletes

You cannot control your child’s breathing environment 100% of the time, but you can make a huge impact.
...
Swedish Health Services

Special Coverage: National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

There are a wide variety of treatment options available for men with prostate cancer. The most technologically advanced treatment option in the Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform.
...
Marysville Police Department

Police Opportunities in a Growing, Supportive Washington Community

Marysville PD is looking for both lateral and entry level officers. Begin or continue your career in law enforcement for a growing, supportive community.
...
Comcast

Small, Minority-Owned Businesses in King County and Pierce County Can Now Apply For $10,000 Relief Grants Through Comcast RISE

Businesses in King County and Pierce County can apply beginning on October 1, 2021, at www.ComcastRISE.com for a chance to receive a $10,000 relief grant.
Seattle U prof on what to expect from the government’s antitrust crackdown