Antitrust conference at NYU Law tackles challenges presented by growing tech giants

As big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple achieve unprecedented power over technological markets and everyday life, their growth has raised concerns about how their practices affect competition. On February 28, panelists weighed solutions for curbing monopolistic practices in Big Tech during a daylong conference, “Antitrust and 21st Century Bigness: Dealing with Tech Platforms in a Globalized World.” 

The conference, co-organized by NYU Law and the law firm Hausfeld, featured a conversation between Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu and Wayne State University Law School Professor Stephen Calkins as well as speakers who included Economics and Law Professor Paul Romer; Daniel Francis, deputy director of the US Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition; American Antitrust Institute President Diana Moss; Charles L. Denison Professor of Law Harry First; Walter J. Derenberg Professor of Trade Regulation Eleanor Fox; and Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law Scott Hemphill.

Follow the discussions on video:

Keynote Address and Panel 1: Monopolization and Abuse: Application to Platforms and Digital Markets 

A Conversation with Tim Wu 

Panel 4: Legislative Reform: What Changes for Antitrust Law and Institutions? 

Selected remarks:

Paul Romer: “There’s just no way that our judicial system is going to break up Facebook.… I think the only way forward here is in the legislative branch. These are hard decisions. They’re contentious. But if as a society, we’re going say, ‘We’re not going allow the kind of power that Facebook has accumulated. That’s not the society we want to live in,’ the only way to address that is for citizens to push their elected representatives to pass laws that stop the behavior that they don’t want to live with.”

Timothy Wu: “And then Facebook just kept buying its most dangerous competitors. WhatsApp was the next target. And, okay, so maybe Instagram’s forgivable, for okay, maybe it’s not a big deal. But then you get their next most dangerous competitive threat, the next and the next. You have to feel that that was, in retrospect, nothing short of allowing the defense of a successful monopoly and therefore a failure.”

Posted June 9, 2020