We Need the Right to Repair Our Products - The FTC Can Help

Ban Exclusionary Contracts

Hi all,

I decided to switch to Substack to send out all my announcements, publications, and commentary on antitrust law.

Today I published an article in Slate. I argue that the Federal Trade Commission, a federal agency responsible for regulating competition policy and prohibiting the use of unfair or deceptive business practices, should ban exclusionary agreements used by dominant firms to restrict a consumer’s right to repair their products. The full article can be read here.

Here are the first two paragraphs:

Months into the COVID-19 pandemic, industries across the economy are still experiencing critical supply shortages. Hospitals don’t have enough lifesaving equipment. Students are unable to purchase computers that they need to learn in their new virtual environments. Car manufacturers are also facing inventory shortages of vehicles and parts.

One of the primary reasons for these scarcities is the exclusive contracts that force manufacturers, suppliers, and consumers to obtain their goods only from firms dominant in their markets. For instance, Apple requires “authorized” independent repair shops to buy iPhone parts only from Apple’s preapproved exclusive vendors. But it doesn’t have to be this way. The new Biden administration can and should instruct the Federal Trade Commission to use its rule-making authority to ban exclusive agreements by dominant manufacturers.

I was also quoted in a Washington Monthly article on the monopolization that is taking place in the podcast industry. I state that Spotify’s acquisition frenzy is a replication of the same playbook that Google utilized to obtain its market dominance. You can read the full article here.

Thanks again everyone.

Feel free to send me comments and articles to read. You can sign up here for more issues of Law & Power, a newsletter on exposing monopoly power in our republic and my latest updates.

Image Credit: RyanMcGuire via Pixabay