Big-Tech-as-cop vs. abolishing Big Tech

Cory Doctorow
11 min readOct 16, 2022


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Cryteria, CC BY 3.0 (modified)/Japanexperterna.se, CC BY 2.0, modified; EnEdC, CC BY-SA 3.0, modified

Since late 2000, EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) has made steady progress, and now, despite US Big Tech companies’ illegal lobbying, it has become a law.

The DMA’s goal is a fairer, more pluralistic internet, not one consisting of five giant websites, each filled with screenshots of text from the other four.

Online consolidation is the result of three related phenomena:

  1. Network effects: some products and services get better the more they’re used — you signed up for Facebook to talk to the friends who were already there, and then other people signed up because they wanted to talk to you; you bought an iPhone because you wanted to use the apps in Apple’s App Store, then app developers made more iPhone apps because they wanted to attract your business.
  2. Mergers: Tech giants have almost unlimited access to the capital markets and use that to buy any startup that might grow to be a threat, and to merge with their biggest rivals to eliminate competition.
  3. High switching costs: Normally, it’s very easy to switch from one technology to another. Computers are universal, and the only computer we know how to make is the one that runs all the programs we know how to write. But tech companies have figured out how to use the law to make it illegal