Public Knowledge Competition Policy Director Charlotte Slaiman will testify before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights this Wednesday, July 19 at 2:45 p.m. Her testimony in the hearing on “Trends in Vertical Merger Enforcement” will argue for preserving competitive and open markets through aggressive antitrust enforcement and by establishing new merger guidelines.
The following is an excerpt from the testimony:
“Today, the world of tech startups is built around the monumental gravitational pull of the largest tech platforms. Knowing that these firms provide a more reliable ‘exit’ where founders and venture capital investors can obtain the exponential gains they need to fund their business model, has a huge impact on the types of businesses that get funded.
“Too many of our innovation resources – not just funding, but also brain power – are focused on creating features that a big tech firm will want to buy. With greater scrutiny on these mergers… we can change this system. We want tomorrow’s innovators to challenge the status quo. To build a competitor to the dominant platform, not a feature for it. Or to focus on a different interesting challenge.
“Competitive markets function better. They function better for consumers, workers, competitors, and adjacent markets. They are easier to regulate because each individual business has less power. Businesses that face competition work hard to identify what their customers want and invest in innovation to provide that.
“Our antitrust enforcement agencies are doing their part to promote competition throughout the economy. They are bringing the cases we need to stop anti-competitive mergers. Consumer advocates have been sounding the alarm for years saying that existing antitrust law is not where it needs to be to address the harms of consolidation. We need Congress to do its part in this fight. Sector-specific tools like the ‘American Innovation and Choice Online Act,’ the ‘Open App Markets Act,’ and the ‘AMERICA Act’ are critical to opening up digital platform markets for fair competition.
“Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that antitrust cannot solve every problem. In digital markets, Public Knowledge is very aware of problems that are unlikely to be solved by competition alone. Consumer protections, particularly privacy protections, will still be needed in the law, and researcher access will be an important tool for understanding the problems of disinformation online.”
You may view the testimony for more details.
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