Wall Street Journal

Big Tech’s Budding AI Monopoly

Microsoft and its peers have a longstanding strategy to thwart competitive upstarts.

Distinguished Fellow
Big Tech’s Budding AI Monopoly
A person walks past a Microsoft office on 8th Avenue on May 16, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Gary Hershorn/Getty Images)

Microsoft, Google and Amazon are remarkably successful companies, and their ability to suppress competition in their primary and adjacent markets is unparalleled. These tech giants are now attempting to control artificial-intelligence technology. If allowed to dominate AI, they could reinforce and extend their supremacy over more of the economy. It is imperative that competition authorities carefully monitor and, where necessary, police the investments and partnerships that Big Tech is using to tighten its grip over AI.

Big Tech’s playbook for expanding its dominance is familiar. Once these platforms establish monopoly or near-monopoly power in their primary markets, they enter and gain competitive advantages in adjacent markets. As a House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee report found, Big Tech companies have frequently “invested” in emerging firms and technologies in adjacent markets, integrated or bundled these products with their dominant platforms, and then provided a leg up to their offerings by giving them superior access to their platforms.

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