Antitrust: Democrats vs Big Tech

ElkiElki get busyModerator, ClubPA mod
It's been out for almost two weeks now, but I just got to reading the House's antitrust report on big tech companies. It's real good. The target is the big 4, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.

https://judiciary.house.gov/uploadedfiles/competition_in_digital_markets.pdf

From,
Although these firms have delivered clear benefits to society, the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google has come at a price. These firms typically run the marketplace while also competing in it—a position that enables them to write one set of rules for others, while they play by another, or to engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves.

The effects of this significant and durable market power are costly. The Subcommittee’s series of hearings produced significant evidence that these firms wield their dominance in ways that erode entrepreneurship, degrade Americans’ privacy online, and undermine the vibrancy of the free and diverse press. The result is less innovation, fewer choices for consumers, and a weakened democracy.

The intro goes on the describe the nature of the 4 monopolies and their anticompetitive practices. Acquisitions, selective policy enforcement, collusion, etc. And the effects they've had on different markets. All fine stuff, but its in recommendations where things get really good (page 20).
a. Restoring Competition in the Digital Economy
  • Structural separations and prohibitions of certain dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business;
  • Nondiscrimination requirements, prohibiting dominant platforms from engaging in self preferencing, and requiring them to offer equal terms for equal products and services;
  • Interoperability and data portability, requiring dominant platforms to make their services compatible with various networks and to make content and information easily portable between them;
  • Presumptive prohibition against future mergers and acquisitions by the dominant platforms;
  • Safe harbor for news publishers in order to safeguard a free and diverse press; and
  • Prohibitions on abuses of superior bargaining power, proscribing dominant platforms from engaging in contracting practices that derive from their dominant market position, and requiring due process protections for individuals and businesses dependent on the dominant platforms.

b. Strengthening the Antitrust Laws
  • Reasserting the anti-monopoly goals of the antitrust laws and their centrality to ensuring a healthy and vibrant democracy;
  • Strengthening Section 7 of the Clayton Act, including through restoring presumptions and bright-line rules, restoring the incipiency standard and protecting nascent competitors, and strengthening the law on vertical mergers;
  • Strengthening Section 2 of the Sherman Act, including by introducing a prohibition on abuse of dominance and clarifying prohibitions on monopoly leveraging, predatory pricing, denial of essential facilities, refusals to deal, tying, and anticompetitive self-preferencing and product
  • design; and
  • Taking additional measures to strengthen overall enforcement, including through overriding
  • problematic precedents in the case law.

c. Reviving Antitrust Enforcement
  • Restoring robust congressional oversight of the antitrust laws and their enforcement;
  • Restoring the federal antitrust agencies to full strength, by triggering civil penalties and other relief for “unfair methods of competition” rules, requiring the Federal Trade Commission to engage in regular data collection on concentration, enhancing public transparency and accountability of the agencies, requiring regular merger retrospectives, codifying stricter prohibitions on the revolving door, and increasing the budgets of the FTC and the Antitrust Division; and
  • Strengthening private enforcement, through eliminating obstacles such as forced arbitration clauses, limits on class action formation, judicially created standards constraining what constitutes an antitrust injury, and unduly high pleading standards.

Just straight going for the jugular. It's not legislation, but it is basically the anti-monopolist wish-list. I can't really bold anything in that list, because it's not one of those padded recommendations list, with one great item and a series of ok ones. Presumptive prohibitions against mergers and interoperability requirements are my personal favorites, though. The expanded recommendations section is worth reading.

Restore the Antimonopoly Goals of the Antitrust Laws
The antitrust laws that Congress enacted in 1890 and 1914—the Sherman Act, the Clayton Act,
and the Federal Trade Commission Act—reflected a recognition that unchecked monopoly power
poses a threat to our economy as well as to our democracy.2467 Congress reasserted this vision through
subsequent antitrust laws, including the Robinson-Patman Act of 1936, the Celler-Kefauver Act of
1950, and the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act of 1976.2468
In the decades since Congress enacted these foundational statutes, the courts have significantly
weakened these laws and made it increasingly difficult for federal antitrust enforcers and private
plaintiffs to successfully challenge anticompetitive conduct and mergers.2469 Through adopting a
narrow construction of “consumer welfare” as the sole goal of the antitrust laws, the Supreme Court
has limited the analysis of competitive harm to focus primarily on price and output rather than the
competitive process2470—contravening legislative history and legislative intent.2471 Simultaneously,
courts have adopted the view that under-enforcement of the antitrust laws is preferable to overenforcement,
a position at odds with the clear legislative intent of the antitrust laws, as well as the view
of Congress that private monopolies are a “menace to republican institutions.”
2472 In recent decades,
the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have contributed to this problem by taking
a narrow view of their legal authorities and issuing guidelines that are highly permissive of market
power and its abuse. The overall result is an approach to antitrust that has significantly diverged from
the laws that Congress enacted.
In part due to this narrowing, some of the anticompetitive business practices that the
Subcommittee’s investigation uncovered could be difficult to challenge under current law.2473 In
response to this concern, this section identifies specific legislative reforms that would help renew and
rehabilitate the antitrust laws in the context of digital markets. In addition to these specific reforms, the
Subcommittee recommends that Congress consider reasserting the original intent and broad goals of
the antitrust laws, by clarifying that they are designed to protect not just consumers, but also workers,
entrepreneurs, independent businesses, open markets, a fair economy, and democratic ideals.2474

Maybe other have concerns about it, not that I've seen any, but my only question is how much of it survives to turning into actual legislation. Not much to complain about here. I don't like giant OPs, so I'll post highlights in subsequent posts.

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Posts

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Courts have introduced a recoupment requirement in predatory pricing cases, where plaintiffs have to demonstrate that monopolies that dropped their prices to drive competitors out of the market eventually made those losses back. The committee's recommendation is to drop that, have it only be necessary to prove the pricing was predatory.
    c. Predatory Pricing
    The Subcommittee’s investigation identified several instances in which a dominant platform
    was pricing goods or services below-cost in order to drive out rivals and capture the market. For
    example, documents produced during the investigation revealed that Amazon had been willing to lose
    $200 million in a single quarter in order to pressure Diapers.com, a firm it had recognized as its most
    significant rival in the category. Amazon cut prices and introduced steep promotions, prompting a
    pricing war that eventually weakened Diapers.com. Amazon then purchased the company, eliminating
    its competitor and subsequently cutting back the discounts and promotions it had introduced.
    Predatory pricing is a particular risk in digital markets, where winner-take-all dynamics
    incentivize the pursuit of growth over profits, and where the dominant digital platforms can cross-
    subsidize between lines of business. Courts, however, have introduced a “recoupment” requirement,
    necessitating that plaintiffs prove that the losses incurred through below-cost pricing subsequently
    were or could be recouped. Although dominant digital markets can recoup these losses through various
    means over the long term, recoupment is difficult for plaintiffs to prove in the short term. Since the
    recoupment requirement was introduced, successful predatory pricing cases have plummeted.2495
    The Subcommittee recommends clarifying that proof of recoupment is not necessary to prove
    predatory pricing or predatory buying, overriding the Supreme Court’s decisions in Matsushita v.
    Zenith Ratio Corp.,
    2496 Brooke Group Ltd. v. Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp.,
    2497 and
    Weyerhaeuser Company v. Ross-Simmons Hardwood Lumber Company.
    2498

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  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    The big one. Structural separation. Rather addressing specific behaviors of individual firms, the goal is to prevent businesses from using their dominance is one area (social) to gain advantage in a different business (photo sharing), so it doesn't fall to the anti-trust department to investigate each potential monopoly in a case by case basis.
    Reduce Conflicts of Interest Thorough Structural Separations and Line of Business Restrictions

    In addition to controlling one or multiple key channels of distribution, the dominant firms
    investigated by the Subcommittee are integrated across lines of business. When operating in adjacent
    markets, these platforms compete directly with companies that depend on them to access users, giving
    rise to a conflict of interest. As discussed earlier in this Report, the Subcommittee’s investigation
    uncovered several ways in which Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google use their dominance in one
    or more markets to advantage their other lines of business, reducing dynamism and innovation.

    ...

    To address this underlying conflict of interest, Subcommittee staff recommends that Congress
    consider legislation that draws on two mainstay tools of the antimonopoly toolkit: structural separation
    and line of business restrictions.2408 Structural separations prohibit a dominant intermediary from
    operating in markets that place the intermediary in competition with the firms dependent on its
    infrastructure. Line of business restrictions, meanwhile, generally limit the markets in which a
    dominant firm can engage.

    Congress has relied on both policy tools as part of a standard remedy for dominant
    intermediaries in other network industries, including railroads and telecommunications services.2409 In
    the railroad industry, for example, a congressional investigation found that the expansion of common
    carrier railroads’ into the coal market undermined independent coal producers, whose wares the
    railroads would deprioritize in order to give themselves superior access to markets. In 1893, the
    Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce wrote that “[n]o competition can exist between two
    producers of a commodity when one of them has the power to prescribe both the price and output of
    the other.”

    Both structural separations and line of business restrictions seek to eliminate the conflict of
    interest faced by a dominant intermediary when it enters markets that place it in competition with
    dependent businesses. In certain cases, structural separations have also been used to prevent
    monopolistic firms from subsidizing entry into competitive markets
    and to promote media
    diversity.2414

    At a general level, there are two forms of structural separation: (1) ownership separations,
    which require divestiture and separate ownership of each business; and (2) functional separations,
    which permit a single corporate entity to engage in multiple lines of business but prescribe the
    particular organizational form it must take.2415 Importantly, both forms of structural limits apply on a
    market-wide basis while divestitures in antitrust enforcement generally apply to a single firm or
    merging party.

    A benefit of these proposals is their administrability. By setting rules for the underlying
    structure of the market—rather than policing anticompetitive conduct on an ad hoc basis—structural
    rules are easier to administer than conduct remedies, which can require close and continuous
    monitoring.
    2416

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  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    I really hope this goes somewhere.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
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  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    The House report says what many others have; that DoJ has dropped the ball in its policing of anti-competitive acquisition by dominant tech firms ("The record of the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department in this area shows significant missteps and repeat enforcement failures"). And propose that in the future, rather that having to prove that a merger or an acquisition is anti-competitive, an acquisition by a dominant firm is presumed anti-competitive until proved otherwise.

    Bet you wish that was already in place, Oculus fans.
    Reduce Market Power Through Merger Presumptions
    The firms investigated by the Subcommittee owe part of their dominance to mergers and
    acquisitions. Several of the platforms built entire lines of business through acquisitions, while others
    used acquisitions at key moments to neutralize competitive threats. Although the dominant platforms
    collectively engaged in several hundred mergers and acquisitions between 2000-2019, antitrust
    enforcers did not block a single one of these transactions. The Subcommittee’s investigation revealed
    that several of these acquisitions enabled the dominant platforms to block emerging rivals and
    undermine competition.
    Despite a significant number of ongoing antitrust investigations, the dominant platforms have
    continued to pursue significant deal-making. Over the last year, for example, Google purchased Fitbit
    for $2.1 billion and Looker for $2.6 billion; Amazon purchased Zoox for $1.3 billion; and Facebook
    acquired Giphy for an undisclosed amount.2453 Meanwhile, all four of the firms investigated by the
    Subcommittee have recently focused on acquiring startups in the artificial intelligence and virtual
    reality space.2454
    Ongoing acquisitions by the dominant platforms raise several concerns. Insofar as any
    transaction entrenches their existing position, or eliminates a nascent competitor, it strengthens their
    market power and can close off market entry. Furthermore, by pursuing additional deals in artificial
    intelligence and in other emerging markets, the dominant firms of today could position themselves to
    control the technology of tomorrow.
    It is unclear whether the antitrust agencies are presently equipped to block anticompetitive
    mergers in digital markets. The record of the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department in
    this area shows significant missteps and repeat enforcement failures. While both agencies are currently
    pursuing reviews of pending transactions, it is not yet clear whether they have developed the analytical
    tools to challenge anticompetitive deals in digital markets. For example, the Justice Department in
    February permitted Google’s acquisition of Looker, a data analytics and business intelligence startup,
    despite serious risks that the deal would eliminate an independent rival and could allow Google to cut
    off access to rivals.2455 These concerns are especially acute today, given the combined national health
    and economic crises, which have widened the gap between the dominant platforms and businesses
    across the rest of the economy.
    To address this concern, Subcommittee staff recommends that Congress consider shifting
    presumptions for future acquisitions by the dominant platforms. Under this change, any acquisition by
    a dominant platform would be presumed anticompetitive unless the merging parties could show that
    the transaction was necessary for serving the public interest and that similar benefits could not be
    achieved through internal growth and expansion.
    This process would occur outside the current Hart-Scott-Rodino Act (HSR)
    process, such that the dominant platforms would be required to report all
    transactions and no HSR deadlines would be triggered. Establishing this presumption would better
    reflect Congress’s preference for growth through ingenuity and investment rather than through
    acquisition.



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  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Esq. Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

  • ElkiElki get busy Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Last for me, going after forced arbitration and some of the court-created obstacles to private enforcement.
    Private Enforcement

    Private enforcement plays a critical role in the nation’s antitrust system. The Sherman Act and
    Clayton Act both include a private right of action. This reflected lawmakers’ desire to ensure that those
    abused by monopoly power have an opportunity for direct recourse.2531 It also reflected a recognition
    that public enforcers would be susceptible to capture by the very monopolists that they were supposed
    to investigate, necessitating other means of enforcement.
    Empirical surveys of trends in antitrust enforcement indicate that private enforcement deters
    anticompetitive conduct and strengthens enforcement overall.2532 In recent decades, however, courts
    have erected significant obstacles for private antitrust plaintiffs, both through procedural decisions and
    substantive doctrine.
    One major obstacle is the rise of forced arbitration clauses, which undermine private
    enforcement of the antitrust laws by allowing companies to avoid legal accountability for their
    actions.
    2533 These clauses allow firms to evade the public justice system—where plaintiffs have far
    greater legal protections—and hide behind a one-sided process that is tilted in their favor.2534 For
    example, although Amazon has over two million sellers in the United States, Amazon’s records reflect
    that only 163 sellers initiated arbitration proceedings between 2014 and 2019.2535 This data seem to
    confirm studies showing that forced arbitration clauses often fails to provide a meaningful forum for
    resolving disputes and instead tend to suppress valid claims and shield wrongdoing.
    2536
    Several other trends in judicial decisions have hampered private antitrust plaintiffs, including in
    cases involving dominant platforms. To address these concerns, the Subcommittee recommends that
    Congress consider:
    • Eliminating court-created standards for “antitrust injury”and “antitrust standing,” which undermine Congress’s granting of enforcement authority to “any person . . . injured . . . by reason of anything forbidden in the antitrust laws;”
    • Reducing procedural obstacles to litigation, including through eliminating forced arbitration clauses and undue limits on class action formation; and
    • Lowering the heightened pleading requirement introduced in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly.

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  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    edited October 17
    Forced arbitration should be unconstitutional. That it is even a thing blows my mind.

    This stuff all seems pretty good news for unions, even if that's not necessarily the intention. This would knock on the door for a lot of industry that has always been successful by way of tampering with the labor market and clubbing start-ups to near death before Shang Tsung'n them.

    dispatch.o on
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  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Esq. Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

    Amazon and Microsoft don't do a lot of mass layoffs of employees in this region because their headquarters are located here. They'll lay off contractors and contract firms, but by and large they've been expanding their workforce and campuses to a detrimental degree. The chief problem they cause is the incredible pressure on available housing stock and inflating the overall cost of living index. Same problems San Francisco is having, but with colder weather.

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  • AiouaAioua Ora Occidens Ora OptimaRegistered User regular
    In WA it's Boeing who historically drives the boom/bust layoff cycle.

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  • Styrofoam SammichStyrofoam Sammich WANT. 5386-8443-8937Registered User regular
    Pramila Jayapal is pretty good as far as politicians go.

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  • HefflingHeffling No Pic EverRegistered User regular
    It's almost like having one or two companies be the principal employer in a populated area is bad.

    If a movement doesn't have someone that can sit down opposite those in a position of power and strike a deal, how can that movement achieve success?
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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Forced arbitration should be unconstitutional. That it is even a thing blows my mind.

    It literally came out of an errant comment that a Supreme Court Justice made in a ruling, stating that arbitration should be treated as equal to the courts.

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  • LabelLabel Registered User regular
    I don't have the education to parse this stuff in detail.

    I hope the power of these companies, and large corporations in general, gets pounded down.

    Calica
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    One of the big things here is undoing the ways the Reagan Administration broke antitrust law by tying it to consumers, by stating that there's more to anticompetitive behavior than higher prices. Which is something long needed.

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  • PolaritiePolaritie Sleepy Registered User regular
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Forced arbitration should be unconstitutional. That it is even a thing blows my mind.

    It literally came out of an errant comment that a Supreme Court Justice made in a ruling, stating that arbitration should be treated as equal to the courts.

    I have never understood how those can be squared with the first amendment right to petition, since the most basic and fundamental form of that is a civil suit. The federal arbitration act is clearly unconstitutional because of that, and it keeps getting used to prevent states from stopping this shit instead.

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  • NobeardNobeard North Carolina: Failed StateRegistered User regular
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    I'm not saying we are going to have an autocratic dystopia, but things keep happening that look like they come from an autocratic dystopia.
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Antitrust isn't just about monopolies - it's about anticompetitive organization of corporations. In the case of Facebook, they buy up potential competitors early on to prevent them from becoming a threat - they did this with Instagram and Snapchat, for example.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

    Amazon and Microsoft don't do a lot of mass layoffs of employees in this region because their headquarters are located here. They'll lay off contractors and contract firms, but by and large they've been expanding their workforce and campuses to a detrimental degree. The chief problem they cause is the incredible pressure on available housing stock and inflating the overall cost of living index. Same problems San Francisco is having, but with colder weather.

    Companies hiring lots of people and paying excellent wages is typically considered a good thing

    MrMisterthatassemblyguyzepherinLanlaorn
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

    Amazon and Microsoft don't do a lot of mass layoffs of employees in this region because their headquarters are located here. They'll lay off contractors and contract firms, but by and large they've been expanding their workforce and campuses to a detrimental degree. The chief problem they cause is the incredible pressure on available housing stock and inflating the overall cost of living index. Same problems San Francisco is having, but with colder weather.

    Companies hiring lots of people and paying excellent wages is typically considered a good thing

    Not when it's fundamentally unbalancing city populations and driving out families who have lived there for generations, replacing diverse communities with what can be best described as a monoculture.

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  • CelestialBadgerCelestialBadger Registered User regular
    The work-from-home revolution of Covid could be very beneficial to Silicon Valley. You don’t need to work shoulder-to-shoulder to people to code together. The last tech company I worked at discouraged informal verbal communication as “distracting” anyway.

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  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

    Amazon and Microsoft don't do a lot of mass layoffs of employees in this region because their headquarters are located here. They'll lay off contractors and contract firms, but by and large they've been expanding their workforce and campuses to a detrimental degree. The chief problem they cause is the incredible pressure on available housing stock and inflating the overall cost of living index. Same problems San Francisco is having, but with colder weather.

    Companies hiring lots of people and paying excellent wages is typically considered a good thing

    Not when it's fundamentally unbalancing city populations and driving out families who have lived there for generations, replacing diverse communities with what can be best described as a monoculture.

    Ah yes, we should definitely tell people "no, you can't live here, we're full" because we don't like them very much

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

    Amazon and Microsoft don't do a lot of mass layoffs of employees in this region because their headquarters are located here. They'll lay off contractors and contract firms, but by and large they've been expanding their workforce and campuses to a detrimental degree. The chief problem they cause is the incredible pressure on available housing stock and inflating the overall cost of living index. Same problems San Francisco is having, but with colder weather.

    Companies hiring lots of people and paying excellent wages is typically considered a good thing

    Not when it's fundamentally unbalancing city populations and driving out families who have lived there for generations, replacing diverse communities with what can be best described as a monoculture.

    Ah yes, we should definitely tell people "no, you can't live here, we're full" because we don't like them very much

    Because it's not like SF and Seattle aren't in the middle of massive gentrification spikes that have seen the working class and even the middle class being displaced out of communities that they have lived in for generations, being forced to live in marginal communities on the outskirts of those cities.

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  • GoumindongGoumindong Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    How is it not? Facebook is more or less the only comprehensive social media. If you want the kind of data and exposure that can be produced via social media you must go through facebook. This makes them a monopoly.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    There is an issue where workers move to an area that they do not actually like on a cultural level and come into conflict with the locals, but I'm not really sure that's a monopoly issue unless we assume every single business is going to hole up in a different city if you split companies up.

  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    edited October 19
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    dispatch.o wrote: »
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    I hope there will be actual action taken on these findings if Biden wins and the Dems retake/retain control of the Senate and the House. As someone whose lived in Seattle his whole life, and thus lived in the shadow of big tech companies like Amazon and Microsoft, nothing good comes of their presence and everything that can be done to break them apart should be done.

    Intel and Nike crash the economy of Hillsboro, OR all the time. As soon as one of the two lays off people they bring on a bunch of people who are contract and not employees and every employer in the area uses it as an excuse to get rid of people, even in non-adjacent industries.

    I'm sure the big 4 do the same thing on a much grander scale, though I haven't lived in The Bay Area in around 10 years now their presence was like the fucking Eye of Sauron.

    Amazon and Microsoft don't do a lot of mass layoffs of employees in this region because their headquarters are located here. They'll lay off contractors and contract firms, but by and large they've been expanding their workforce and campuses to a detrimental degree. The chief problem they cause is the incredible pressure on available housing stock and inflating the overall cost of living index. Same problems San Francisco is having, but with colder weather.

    Companies hiring lots of people and paying excellent wages is typically considered a good thing

    Not when it's fundamentally unbalancing city populations and driving out families who have lived there for generations, replacing diverse communities with what can be best described as a monoculture.

    Ah yes, we should definitely tell people "no, you can't live here, we're full" because we don't like them very much

    Because it's not like SF and Seattle aren't in the middle of massive gentrification spikes that have seen the working class and even the middle class being displaced out of communities that they have lived in for generations, being forced to live in marginal communities on the outskirts of those cities.

    Facebook employs 45000 people. The SFBA has a population of 7.75 million. Even if all their employees are in the bay, that's one half of one percent of the population. Hardly an epidemic or a problem that any one company can solve by... not existing I guess? People go where the jobs are and companies form where the people are

    Even if you were to shut down facebook those 45k probably aren't going to quickly leave either. There will be other companies hiring them and they've already put in the time and effort to move there in the first place

    Phyphor on
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Also, it's worth pointing out that tech companies, as a rule by their very nature, do not hire "a lot of people". Headcounts at tech firms are routinely lower than those of other companies at the same level of capitalization, and in firms like Amazon and Uber which have a significant workforce because of physical services, there's a clear delineation between the large number of low level workers who provide the physical end of the business and are paid low wages and the small number of well compensated employees at the home office.

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  • IncenjucarIncenjucar Not a Fictional Character Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Different companies work differently.

    Microsoft leans heavily on contractors, Amazon does not. This also doesn't relate to monopoly issues.

    Monopoly issues are things like being able to push out a product that's so cheap that nobody can compete so you can dominate the market, or being able to buy up all the resources, or bully all the resource providers in a sector because you're most of their potential customer base.

    DoodmannElvenshae
  • Marty81Marty81 Registered User regular
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Not exactly. It's a whole suite of products that tracks your every goddamn move across the internet, even if you've never signed up for the service, for one thing. Look up shadow profiles and the tracking stuff they sell to other websites.
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Antitrust isn't just about monopolies - it's about anticompetitive organization of corporations. In the case of Facebook, they buy up potential competitors early on to prevent them from becoming a threat - they did this with Instagram and Snapchat, for example.

    Snapchat is actually the only competitor I can think of that they didn't buy. They tried multiple times but were rebuffed.

  • LabelLabel Registered User regular
    There's also an aspect of, I'm not sure what it's called, but captured consumers?

    When the only place that some significant number of people ever go to shop online is Amazon, that damages the competitiveness of the marketplace, even if it's not a complete monopoly. That sets up Amazon or an entity like it to abuse that position in the market.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Marty81 wrote: »
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Not exactly. It's a whole suite of products that tracks your every goddamn move across the internet, even if you've never signed up for the service, for one thing. Look up shadow profiles and the tracking stuff they sell to other websites.

    It's still difficult to square that with "is a monopoly". Websites have a Facebook tracker, and a Google tracker, and an Adobe tracker, and an Oracle tracker and a...

    Like, the existence of this sort of 3rd party surveillance is problematic, but it doesn't make it a monopoly in any meaningful way, at least consumer facing.

    I feel like the attempt to attach monopoly law to go after problematic social tech is a mistake in general. Like you'd be hard pressed to call Twitter a monopoly of anything (where Facebook is in fact it's direct competitor, as are open source technologies, as are message boards) - but it's been a damn plague on the world for entirely different reasons.

    Aridhol
  • dispatch.odispatch.o Registered User regular
    Label wrote: »
    There's also an aspect of, I'm not sure what it's called, but captured consumers?

    When the only place that some significant number of people ever go to shop online is Amazon, that damages the competitiveness of the marketplace, even if it's not a complete monopoly. That sets up Amazon or an entity like it to abuse that position in the market.

    It's the digital version of Wal-Mart in the 90s-00s. Build a store at the first exit and last exit from the freeway/interstate and watch everything in between wither away.

    It's just not a physical building that everyone can point to in most places, so it's harder to articulate. It's the difference between drowning competition in the bathtub versus sucking all the oxygen out of the room.

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  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    Marty81 wrote: »
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Not exactly. It's a whole suite of products that tracks your every goddamn move across the internet, even if you've never signed up for the service, for one thing. Look up shadow profiles and the tracking stuff they sell to other websites.

    It's still difficult to square that with "is a monopoly". Websites have a Facebook tracker, and a Google tracker, and an Adobe tracker, and an Oracle tracker and a...

    Like, the existence of this sort of 3rd party surveillance is problematic, but it doesn't make it a monopoly in any meaningful way, at least consumer facing.

    I feel like the attempt to attach monopoly law to go after problematic social tech is a mistake in general. Like you'd be hard pressed to call Twitter a monopoly of anything (where Facebook is in fact it's direct competitor, as are open source technologies, as are message boards) - but it's been a damn plague on the world for entirely different reasons.

    Antitrust != monopoly, and the reason you think otherwise is thanks to the way the Reagan Administration broke antitrust law in the 80s, by requiring demonstration of monopoly harms to enact antitrust actions. Part of the recommendations that Elki posted above are to fix that damage by no longer using monopoly as the standard for antitrust action.
    Label wrote: »
    There's also an aspect of, I'm not sure what it's called, but captured consumers?

    When the only place that some significant number of people ever go to shop online is Amazon, that damages the competitiveness of the marketplace, even if it's not a complete monopoly. That sets up Amazon or an entity like it to abuse that position in the market.

    The term is monopsony - a dominant buyer, in comparison to a monopoly being a dominant seller. And in some key ways, monopsonies are worse than monopolies.

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  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Esq. Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    Marty81 wrote: »
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Not exactly. It's a whole suite of products that tracks your every goddamn move across the internet, even if you've never signed up for the service, for one thing. Look up shadow profiles and the tracking stuff they sell to other websites.
    Nobeard wrote: »
    How is Facebook a monopoly? It needs to be destroyed because it's just plain evil, but isn't Facebook just the website?

    Antitrust isn't just about monopolies - it's about anticompetitive organization of corporations. In the case of Facebook, they buy up potential competitors early on to prevent them from becoming a threat - they did this with Instagram and Snapchat, for example.

    Snapchat is actually the only competitor I can think of that they didn't buy. They tried multiple times but were rebuffed.

    Snapchat was effectively destroyed by Facebook when they stole the Stories feature and put it into Instagram before Snapchat could file a patent for it. This feature being ported to the larger platform with the bigger audience more or less hollowed Snapchat out into the uninspired husk it is.

  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Software patents are bullshit though

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  • HacksawHacksaw J. Duggan Esq. Wrestler at LawRegistered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Software patents are bullshit though

    They're also a great way to make sure that juggernauts like Facebook don't take a feature that you pioneered and steal it so their comparatively massive customer base can enjoy the benefits of your ingenuity and hard work while you're left out in the cold.

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  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Software patents are bullshit though

    Seriously. If you want to defang the big players here, wipe out software patents and let them go after each other on cost.

    There's no serious risk of losing knowledge here since no one has actually managed to make a truly tamper proof consumer ROM module.

  • PhyphorPhyphor Building Planet Busters Tasting FruitRegistered User regular
    Hacksaw wrote: »
    Phyphor wrote: »
    Software patents are bullshit though

    They're also a great way to make sure that juggernauts like Facebook don't take a feature that you pioneered and steal it so their comparatively massive customer base can enjoy the benefits of your ingenuity and hard work while you're left out in the cold.

    They don't need to, they'll bury you with their army of relevant patents first or you'll have to spend a fortune as a startup going over everything you do to ensure what you're doing isn't patented first. One feature doesn't break a juggernaut

    thatassemblyguy
  • MillMill Registered User regular
    Hopefully, if dems take the Senate, they expand the court before going to town on much needed antitrust stuff because the current court; especially, if it has the shithead named Barrett on it, will undermine anything done to solve antitrust issues.

    I'm wondering if with the four tech companies named, if there are still priorities even there on who gets dismembered first. All four need to be broken up, but IMO since you'll probably get an order of when things are filed in the courts. I'd argue that FB and google would be the priority because one of the issues with both of them, is just how much control they have over the information people are fed. With luck, those four will only be the start and we'll see action brought against the various companies that have gotten too fucking big and that are actively using their size to fuck the American people over for the sake of profits.

  • SkeithSkeith Registered User regular
    Social media has the spotlight but Google and Amazon can probably be chunked more easily than Facebook. Apple could be a bit trickier in that respect. I'd like to see action taken against big telecom companies even more than against software giants though.

    mts wrote: »
    heres how i see it being a total win situation for you
    1. stay with your wife while she dog sits. this wins husband points since she knows its out of your comfort zone
    2. have sex all over her friends house so that the next time you see her friend look at you condescendingly, you can wink back knowing you did the freaky deaky where she eats her cheerios.
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