The New York State Senate today approved legislation (SB 933A) that make New York the only state to adopt a European-style “abuse of dominance” antitrust standard — allowing the state Attorney General to sue companies for winning over customers by offering a better product than their competitors.
Chamber of Progress, a center-left tech industry organization, said the legislation would hinder companies’ incentives to offer product advancements for consumers. Existing U.S. law enables regulators to stop a business with a high market share (70%+) and monopoly position in a given market from hurting consumers by raising prices, reducing product quality or preventing switches to competitors.
But SB 933A would depart from U.S. law by allowing any company with 40 percent of a market in New York state to be deemed as “dominant,” and adopting Europe’s expansive “abuse of dominance” antitrust standard — allowing the state Attorney General to protect companies from competitors even when consumers benefit.
“This bill would let the government sue Apple because the iPhone made the Blackberry obsolete — or sue Ford for the Model T putting horse and buggy companies out of business,” said Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich. “That would hurt consumers, who benefit when companies build a better product or lower prices. Hopefully the Assembly will recognize that New York has bigger priorities than protecting Friendly’s from Carvel — or protecting any company from fair competition.”
Kovacevich earlier published an opinion piece in Empire Report discussing the bill.
The State Attorney General’s office has already filed two major antitrust lawsuits against Facebook and Google, using its authority under existing competition laws — showing that law enforcement already has ample tools in its toolbox. And a federal reform approach makes far more sense than diverging state policies, which could disadvantage New York in competing against other states. Kovacevich noted that Senator Amy Klobuchar has introduced an antitrust reform bill with many ideas worth debating.
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Chamber of Progress (progresschamber.org) is a new center-left tech industry policy coalition promoting technology’s progressive future. We work to ensure that all Americans benefit from technological leaps, and that the tech industry operates responsibly and fairly.
Our corporate partners do not have a vote on or veto over our positions. We do not speak for individual partner companies and remain true to our stated principles even when our partners disagree.