The growth of large digital platforms has caused some observers to claim that merger policy has been too lax to protect consumer welfare, stating a predicate for antitrust policy reform. We address this by exploring the relative importance of past mergers to the current value of the five largest platforms (Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft). We find that mergers have not been as important to these platforms’ size compared with other large technology companies. Even so, it could be argued that the mergers engaged in by these platforms have harmed efficiency. Listing the combinations often used to advance this view, we find that such mergers cited by reform advocates have often been associated with competitive or benign outcomes rather than with adverse effects associated with creation of a monopoly. Further analysis (and government litigation) will likely inform this perspective.
Crandall, Robert W. and Hazlett, Thomas W.
"Antitrust in the Information Economy: Digital Platform Mergers,"
Journal of Law and Economics: Vol. 65:
6, Article 7.
Available at: https://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/jle/vol65/iss6/7