In testimony before a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, the Federal Trade Commission explained how it protects consumers by applying well-established principles of competition to fast-changing technology markets.
"Some have argued that there should be different rules for markets characterized by rapid technological development, but Congress drafted the antitrust laws in general terms to accommodate changing markets and new products, and the laws are flexible enough to meet the challenges of the high-tech era,” said Bureau of Competition Director Richard Feinstein, testifying on behalf of the FTC before the House Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy.
The testimony discusses two recent FTC probes to highlight the agency’s flexibility in investigating and bringing enforcement actions in hihg tech marketss. Last year, the FTC charged Intel with using unfair methods of competition dating back to 1999 to stifle competition. The agency recently reached a settlement with the company that will help restore lost competition and prevent Intel from suppressing competition in the future, while allowing the company to compete aggressively.
Also last year, the FTC investigated Google’s proposed acquisition of mobile advertising firm AdMob and ultimately decided not to oppose the transaction. The Commission initially had concerns that the loss of head-to-head competition between the two leading mobile advertising networks would harm competition. However, Apple’s acquisition of the third-largest mobile ad network, Quattro, and the introduction of its own mobile advertising network, iAd, indicated that Apple would quickly become a strong player in the mobile advertising market.
Going forward, the testimony states, the FTC’s merger reviews will continue to focus on market facts to predict how competition is likely to take place in the future.