Digital Platforms and Antitrust Law

21 Pages Posted: 3 May 2019 Last revised: 16 May 2019

See all articles by Keith N. Hylton

Keith N. Hylton

Boston University - School of Law

Date Written: May 2019


This is a paper about “big data” and antitrust law. For my purposes, big data refers to digital platforms that enable the discovery and sharing of information by consumers, and the harvesting and analysis of data on those consumers by the platform. The obvious example of such a platform is Google. The big platforms owe their market dominance not to anticompetitive conduct but to economies of scale. I discuss three types of anticompetitive conduct associated with digital platforms: kill zone expropriation, acquisition of nascent rivals, and denial of access to data. There is nothing so unusual about digital platforms that would require a reform of the antitrust laws. Some are described as two-sided markets, but this designation, even after Ohio v. Amex, should not present an obstacle to the application of antitrust law.

Keywords: digital platform competition, big data and antitrust, kill zone competition, data and competition, Ohio v. Amex, two sided markets, data monopolies, network effects and competition, property in data

Suggested Citation

Hylton, Keith N., Digital Platforms and Antitrust Law (May 2019). Boston Univ. School of Law, Law and Economics Research Paper No. No. 19-8, May 2019, Available at SSRN: or

Keith N. Hylton (Contact Author)

Boston University - School of Law ( email )

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