31st European Regional Conference 2022
Reining in Digital Platforms? Challenging monopolies, promoting competition and developing regulatory regimes
There are many benefits associated with ICT. The pandemic has vividly demonstrated the benefits of ICT, which enabled many activities to go online. Without widespread ICT availability and adoption, it would not have been possible for large parts of economies to work from home or for students to be educated online . And online shopping, which among other things has allowed groceries to be ordered remotely, has grown in popularity in many countries. Quite simply, without ICT the pandemic would have been very different experience.
But there are also problems. Many ICT markets are highly concentrated, with one large company dominating the market. These ‘winner takes all’ (or most) markets are driven by network effects and scale economies, where large numbers of users generate competitive advantages that are difficult for rivals to overturn. It is perhaps no surprise that four out of the five most valuable companies globally are technology based, with Apple and Microsoft currently being capitalised at over $2 trillionaire apiece. The growth of Amazon, which has catapulted its founder, Jeff Bezos, to become the world’s richest man, overtaking another tech company founder in the process.