Are 'FANGs' Monopolies? A Theory of Competition under Uncertainty

46 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2019 Last revised: 21 Oct 2019

See all articles by Nicolas Petit

Nicolas Petit

University of Liege - School of Law; Hoover Institution

Date Written: October 10, 2019


This paper lays down the rudiments of a descriptive theory of competition among the digital tech platforms known as “FANGs” (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), amidst rising academic and policy polarization over the answer to what seems to be – at least at the formulation level – a simple question: are FANGs monopolies? With an open mind, this paper looks at whether the textbook monopoly model is the appropriate framework to analyze digital markets. It finds that observed average tendencies of FANGs expose the limitations of the textbook monopoly model (I), proposes an alternative theory of competition with uncertainty (II), and considers competition law and policy implications (III). This paper builds on draft sections of a forthcoming book on tech giants and public policy (OUP, 2020).

Keywords: antitrust, competition policy, tech, monopoly

JEL Classification: D4, K20, K21, L4, L40, L41, L43, L49, D22, D42, D61, D58, D8, D81

Suggested Citation

Petit, Nicolas, Are 'FANGs' Monopolies? A Theory of Competition under Uncertainty (October 10, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Nicolas Petit (Contact Author)

University of Liege - School of Law ( email )

B-4000 Liege

Hoover Institution ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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