A Techie’s Take On the Facebook Antitrust Case
January 12, 2021
Samuel Odio was the product manager in charge of Facebook Photos before the company bought Instagram, and worked closely with Mark Zuckerberg. He says that success for the FTC’s antitrust suit would be an unequivocal disaster for innovation, although he candidly admits that Zuckerberg perceived Instagram as a threat and that was what drove the acquisition. Despite the clear anti-competitive intent, Odio isn’t convinced that the suit will benefit startups or consumers, nor does he believe that Facebook has a monopoly. He analyzes the Instagram acquisition to defend that proposition. He also makes the case that if the FTC makes acquisitions in the tech industry harder, it becomes riskier and less rewarding to found a startup. Rather than shutting down acquisitions, he suggests considering a requirement that the acquirer invest some percentage of any significant acquisition amount into blind minority positions at other emerging startups in hopes that new dynamics might emerge, with innovation as the clear winner.
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