Concurrentialiste Welcomes a Co-author: John Newman

A New Year

I am very pleased to be joining Thibault Schrepel as a co-author of Le Concurrentialiste. Since we are interested in many of the same areas—particularly the intersection of technology, design, and antitrust—I do not foresee L.C.’s subject matter changing much. But we do bring different perspectives, experience, and expertise to the table, and I anticipate our sum being greater than the whole of our parts.

A New Author

During my law-school training, I was fortunate to be able to work with the great Herbert Hovenkamp as a research assistant. I was immediately hooked on antitrust. Professor Hovenkamp went on to supervise my first scholarly paper in the field, which dealt with anticompetitive product design in digital markets. After graduation, I joined the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division in Washington, DC. Practicing with the Division allowed me invaluable exposure to a number of different investigations and litigated matters in a variety of market settings. Today, I continue to draw upon that experience as an assistant professor with the University of Memphis School of Law. My recent scholarship has focused on the role of antitrust in markets featuring free products (or, as I like to say, “zero-price” products). In particular of late, I have been exploring the complex ways in which dominant firms can harm consumer welfare in digital platform markets like search, social networking, etc.

A New Antitrust(?)

This is perhaps the most exciting time since the late 1970s for those involved in antitrust and competition policy issues. Critical debates are raging over the dangers posed by vertical integration, whether behavioral remedies are an effective fix for anticompetitive conduct, what role competition law should play in digital markets, and—most fundamental of all—whether the consumer-welfare standard that has dominated antitrust law and economics for the past four decades remains appropriate.

In his seminal work, Robert Bork wrote that antitrust is “a microcosm in which larger movements of our society are reflected and perhaps, in some small but significant way, reinforced or generated.”

Though Bork and I may agree on little else, these words still ring true. The ideological battles currently being waged in antitrust and competition-law arenas are, as Bork put it, “likely to affect the outcome of parallel struggles in others.” At times, it feels as though the very nature and role of Western-style markets and states are being reconsidered. And antitrust, with its unique mandate to use the power of the state to promote the functioning of markets, is ground zero for such debates.

During the coming months, I hope we will weigh in on all of these topics, in a format that is—in keeping with the tradition of Le Concurrentialiste—both informative and enjoyable. With the Bayer–Monsanto merger still under review in multiple jurisdictions, the protracted American Express litigation wending its way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the AT&T–Time Warner trial looming, I am looking forward to a lively year!

John Newman

Oh, and by the way, here is me: