The fines keep getting bigger, and so do the companies. Last week’s whopping €4.3bn antitrust penalty by the EU against Google for abusing its power in the mobile phone market was nearly double what it was charged last year for favouring search results from its shopping service over competitors. In both cases, the core issue was the way in which Google uses the power of its enormous ecosystem — it has about 90% of key EU search markets and its Android software is used in more than 80% of the world’s smartphones — to winnow out competitors. It is appealing the latest decision, and will make technical arguments, with varying degrees of merit, about why it is not a monopoly. But the case also shines an uncomfortable light on the concentration of power in a handful of companies. The oligopoly that has resulted is the economic and political challenge of our time. Research published in the past few years shows that concentration and profit rates have increased across most US industries si...

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