StubHub president explains one reason Big Tech has an antitrust problem

Calder McHugh
Associate Editor

StubHub President Sukhinder Singh Cassidy thinks that big tech companies are facing antitrust concerns because they’re attempting to compete with their consumers.

“When I look at big tech, I think one of the things that I think about in the antitrust realm is the fact that many of the big tech companies are both providers of services to companies like mine, but, quite frankly, have the risk of using our data to build competitive services,” Singh Cassidy told Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer.

In recent months, Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOGGOOGL), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN), four of the five FAANG stocks, have all come under scrutiny for potential antitrust violations. Last month, the Justice Department revealed it was opening a broad inquiry into whether “market-leading online platforms” were actively stifling competition.

In her interview with Serwer, Singh Cassidy said certain companies have a “unique advantage” in being able to “set themselves up to compete with their customers.”

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA - FEBRUARY 02: Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, founder of theBoardist speaks at the AOL 2016 MAKERS conference at Terranea Resort on February 2, 2016 in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Singh Cassidy made her comments in a conversation that aired on Yahoo Finance in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.

While she did not mention any tech giants by name, her complaint mirrors the purpose of a recent European Union probe into whether Amazon was improperly benefitting from their customers’ data by hosting third-party sellers on their website and then using “competitively sensitive information.”

Google could also fall into a category of a company that is both a platform and a competitor: The crowd-sourced review forum Yelp has launched a campaign to punish Google for supposedly favoring the search giant’s own restaurant reviews over Yelp’s.

U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has called out this issue, writing in a Medium post in March that Amazon and Google have used “proprietery marketplaces to limit competition.”

“Many big tech companies own a marketplace — where buyers and sellers transact — while also participating on the marketplace,” she wrote. “This can create a conflict of interest that undermines competition.”

Calder McHugh is an Associate Editor at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @Calder_McHugh.

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