How Regulators and PwC Fooled Reporters—Again

Is the PCAOB really investigating PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for its role in the Mattel auditing mess? I may be wrong, but I seriously doubt it. Since the PCAOB and the SEC are captured by the Big Four auditing firms, regulators use the same PR tactics to preserve their own—and the audit firms’— survival.  

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How Google and Facebook Made Digital Advertising Markets Increasingly Opaque to Protect Their Dominance

According to the British Competition and Markets Authority, barriers to entry are so high that not even Amazon is a real threat to Google and Facebook’s dominance. These practices allow digital platforms to raise prices, while advertisers pass the extra costs to their clients. 

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The Trump Administration Attacks the Stigler Report on Digital Platforms

President Trump’s 2020 Economic Report finally confronts the issue of antitrust enforcement both in the traditional economy and in the digital one. While it criticizes the demand for more antitrust enforcement on the ground of insufficient evidence, it dismisses the conclusions of the Stigler Report on a purely a priori argument, ignoring all the evidence contained in the report. 

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The Amazon of Health Care: How CVS Is Evolving From a Drug Store Chain into a Tech Platform

CVS is built on a dominant chain of drug stores, but it is now trying to turn itself into a “uniquely powerful platform” for delivering health care. It uses one part of the supply chain to squeeze competitors in another part of the industry.    

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Facebook’s Enduring Control Over Social Media Markets

According to the British Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Facebook accounts for 75 percent of the UK’s social media market. Over the past 10 years, only three companies succeeded in obtaining at least a 5 percent market share of social media users’ time: Instagram (which Facebook bought), WhatsApp (which Facebook bought) and Snapchat (which Facebook tried and failed to buy).

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Antitrust Law’s Current Stance Toward Workers Violates Its Original Purpose to Balance Power With Powerful Firms

Antitrust law’s present-day bias against democratic cooperation and in favor of top-down corporate control has contributed more broadly to the institutional weakness and perceived illegitimacy of workers’ collective action rights, even when those rights are grounded in labor law.  

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The Chicken/Egg Problem With Google Search That Prevents Competition

Google controls the British search market, according to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority. Its 90 percent market share and profits from general search are protected by significant barriers to entry and expansion: economies of scale and scope, access to a large scale of query and click data and payments to Apple to have Google as the default search engine in its smartphones.

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With the Court Approval of the T-Mobile/Sprint Merger, the Dominant Doctrine in Antitrust Has Jumped the Shark

New York Judge Victor Marrero allowed two major mobile companies to merge in an already concentrated telecom industry, ensuring that prices will rise and service quality will decrease. His decision destroys Robert Bork’s frame that antitrust law is based on economic evidence, revealing Bork-style antitrust as basically just a ruse.

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Google’s and Facebook’s Grip on Digital Advertising Markets

Since July 2019, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has been conducting an extensive investigation of the digital advertising market. In its preliminary report on the investigation, the CMA expresses concerns that Google and Facebook have grown so “large and have such extensive access to data that potential rivals can no longer compete on equal terms.”

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Can Google Mobilize Its Users to Lobby Elected Officials?

Google has an 87 percent market share in the search business and the potential to mobilize more voters than the Democratic primaries, according to the latest Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index Survey. By profiling its users, Google could identify those who are more keen to respond to its “call to action.”

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