Georgetown McDonough Adjunct Professor Delivers Congressional Testimony on Big Tech Monopolies

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Hal Singer, adjunct professor of strategy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, testified before the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law on Feb. 25 to discuss methods to combat big tech monopolies. 

“Big tech’s two-part strategy of ‘cloning’ edge content, followed by steering users to their clones, presents the greatest threat to edge innovation and is arguably the most vexing monopoly problem in our lifetimes,” said Singer during the hearing. 

Cloning is the action of copying another company’s product. Singer explains that a company like Google can create its own version of a startups’ product and then use its search engine to divert users to its own product’s website rather than the startup’s website. 

Singer told the committee that there is no question big tech companies like Amazon and Facebook are monopolies, and it is now the time to work on legislation curbing their power.

“Starting an e-commerce business, developing a killer app, or designing a website is a new and critical path to the middle-class,” said Singer. 

Singer recommends Congress consider three policy options: structural separation, a non-discrimination regime, or a hybrid approach between the two ideas. 

Structural separation is what Singer defines as when “you can be the platform but you can’t also own the content riding over the platforms.” A non-discrimination regime would involve a law preventing platforms from using their power to discriminate against companies operating in the content space associated with the platform. Finally, the hybrid approach would involve a tribunal with the authority to offer relief to victims of discrimination against tech monopolies. 

To watch Singer’s testimony, please visit: https://vimeo.com/516889057.

Singer teaches strategic pricing to Georgetown McDonough graduate students.