The Move to Smart Mobile and its Implications for Antitrust Analysis of Online Markets
UC Davis Business Law Journal
The paper studies shifts in Internet activity on two dimensions, the devices used and medium for Internet access. Online markets have changed as people shift massively from using personal computers and browsers to using technologically powerful mobile devices and apps. These changes vary within countries and in particular between countries based on their stage of development. The widespread adoption of smart mobile has caused, and continues to result in, significant market disruption, including for incumbent Internet-based companies, which are themselves young compared to the traditional companies they disrupted. These dramatic and unpredictable changes pose several issues for antitrust. They show that antitrust analysis that focuses on static markets is highly prone to error when it comes to dynamic online industries, that authorities risk making assumptions during investigations that are disproven by the markets soon after they have brought charges or decided a case, and antitrust remedies are prone to be ineffective or harmful because they are developed for markets during the investigation but are radically different by the time the remedies are implemented.