ron knox Profile picture
Senior researcher & writer at @ILSR. Host of @antimonopolyhh. Antimonopoly. Antifascist. he/him. let's eat. || rknox@ilsr.org
Aug 5 11 tweets 2 min read
1. Hello. Amazon today announced it would pay $1.7 billion to acquire iRobot, the company behind the Roomba robotic vacuum.

It may be the most dangerous, threatening acquisition in the company's history. A thread. 2. The first thing about this deal is that Roombas are very popular. There are more than 40 million of the robots in peoples' homes.

For many, they've become an omnipresent and seemingly permanent part of our lives. No one wants to go back to pushing a vacuum around!
Jul 27 15 tweets 4 min read
1. Hello. The FTC today sued Facebook to stop it from buying Within, a virtual reality company that Meta competes with head-to-head.

The lawsuit shows that under the leadership of Lina Khan, the FTC is learning its lessons. A quick thread. 2. The quick background: Facebook already dominates virtual reality.

Its Oculus headset made up 75% of all VR headset shipments in Q1 2021. Its dominant headset means its app store is also the main way developers access customers, and vice versa.

This wasn't by accident.
Mar 31 13 tweets 8 min read
1. Hello. To fend off antitrust bills that would stop their monopoly abuses, Amazon and other big tech cos have told Congress: It is us, actually, who are the real champions of small business.

A remarkable day yesterday should put those lies to rest forever. A thread. 2. Big Tech says small businesses like and support them, and don't want new laws to regulate them. Yesterday, three blockbuster reports exposed those lies for what they are: whole-cloth fabrications intended to preserve their power to continue fleecing small biz as they wish.
Mar 2 12 tweets 3 min read
1. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around this, but, as someone who is deeply cynical of consolidation, here are some quick reactions to Epic Games buying Bandcamp. 2. As always, my primary concern here is with the independence and finances of artists and their labels. Bandcamp isn't perfect, but so far it has been a noble and sometimes successful attempt at recreating the brick and mortar record store online. It's too important to lose.
Mar 2 4 tweets 1 min read
Biden SOTU moves onto competition problems. Calls out meat packers and ocean shipping. Folks! He’s announcing a crackdown. That was it apparently.
Jan 20 66 tweets 11 min read
1. Hello. Today, the Sen. Judiciary Committee will vote on The American Innovation and Choice Online Act to ban big tech companies from favoring their own products and discriminating against rivals at the expense of small biz and the economy. Watch here:

judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/01/14… 2. This bill would help end the conflicts that make up the main business model of the Big Tech companies. Google pushing its own products to the top of search, Amazon favoring its products and shipping; that would end.

It's a crucial step in the fight against monopoly.
Aug 31, 2021 26 tweets 5 min read
1. Hello. There’s a housing crisis in the US, especially for BIPOC renters and would-be homebuyers. This is because of two problems: There aren’t enough new homes being built, and BIPOC folks can't get credit.

They have a common cause: Extreme corporate concentration. A thread. 2. The first problem, the housing shortage, is well documented - and it’s not going away. Since the 2008 financial crisis, homebuilding has slowed dramatically. Today, there’s what’s called an “underbuilding gap” of nearly 7 million homes.

nar.realtor/newsroom/once-…
Aug 17, 2021 28 tweets 5 min read
1. Hello. For 40 years, our economic regulators told us big corporations were not necessarily bad, and corporate industrial power was actually good for regular folks.

We’ve known that was wrong. Regular folks aren’t better off. But now we have data to back it up. A thread. 2. The data shows that, since the 1950s, the amount of wealth dominant companies take from shoppers, workers and the rest of us has grown by two orders of magnitude. That money leaves our wallets and our paychecks and ends up in the bank accounts of executives and shareholders.
Aug 12, 2021 41 tweets 8 min read
1. Lately there have been two parallel thoughts on how to reform how we police mergers in the US: We should stop mega-mergers, and we should stop monopolies from acquiring any smaller rivals. There are good reasons to do both.

Ok, let’s talk about beer! 2. When I wrote about monopoly power in the beer industry last year, I touched on mergers a bit. But it’s important to understand exactly how both mega-mergers and small acquisitions have built and sustained monopoly power in the industry.

slate.com/business/2020/…
Jun 24, 2021 13 tweets 7 min read
1. I saw a statement from @RepLouCorrea today that I think precisely captures how folks have come to believe monopoly power is benevolent and to just accept our reliance on it.

As Congress prepares to vote on a bill to break up big tech, let's unpack this. A thread. @RepLouCorrea 2. Here's @RepLouCorrea's statement: "In my district, small businesses depend on services provided by the tech companies. Amazon has opened a distribution center and is looking to open a few more. These are good paying jobs with benefits."

Ok. Let's start at the top.
Jun 23, 2021 12 tweets 2 min read
Swalwell agreeing with Issa - all tech talking points - that we have to lower the market cap thresholds to have real interoperability. Rep. Massie makes a strange point that the wealthiest companies in American are going so fast that they're all going to be above the $600 billion market cap threshold soon enough! What a cool argument.
Jun 23, 2021 339 tweets 47 min read
The big tech antitrust bill markup starts in 10 minutes. Here's the link, and this is the thread. Let's party.

As we wait for the hearing to start, watch this and get hype. Breaking monopoly power starts today.

Jun 21, 2021 11 tweets 2 min read
1. Hello. On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee will vote on bills that would rein in big tech monopolies and democratize industries far outside of tech - including breaking up Amazon to end it’s self-dealing and predation.

Let's sort out myths from facts.

A thread. 2. The groups supporting and opposing the bills could not be more different.

Supporters include labor unions, in solidarity with abused and mistreated Amazon workers. They include main street business alliances, whose members face peril because of Amazon’s predatory practices.
Dec 7, 2020 11 tweets 9 min read
1. Last week, @stacyfmitchell @SusanRHolmberg
@kennedysmith
and I detailed what the Biden admin and fed policymakers must do if small businesses are to recover from the Covid crisis.

ilsr.org/rebuilding-sma… @stacyfmitchell @SusanRHolmberg @kennedysmith 2. The recommendations are crucial, because a small business recovery requires an entirely different set of economic values and policies.
Dec 3, 2020 14 tweets 3 min read
1. Hello, it’s time for a monopoly story! If you eat any kind of peanut product - butter, oil, cereals, trail mix, etc - those peanuts were probably processed by one of two powerful companies. Companies that set prices and hurt small, family farmers. 2. The two companies, Golden Peanut and Birdsong, control between 80 and 90% of the peanut shelling industry. Those two, along with a smaller company called Olam, shell something very close to 100% of all U.S. grown peanuts.

Ok. But what’s a sheller?
Sep 3, 2020 15 tweets 3 min read
A quick research rant that maybe no one will care about but whatever: The death of the FTC's cereal case under the Reagan administration was a shameful end to an important restructuring project. U.S. industry would be far different had the FTC been allowed to continue its work. Background: In 1972 the FTC sued Kelloggs and two other cereal companies for their "shared monopoly." They together controlled 80% of the cereal market and had used that control to fix prices and keep new rivals from getting shelf space at the supermarket.
May 8, 2020 19 tweets 3 min read
1. It’s Friday, so here’s a non-Covid thread about consolidation in music. This week I’ve been thinking a lot about the size and power of Live Nation. It’s so astounding to me STILL, I feel compelled to share. 2. So, let’s think about live music. Concerts, tours (remember those?!). In the age of streaming, live performances are the main way artists make money. Ok. So how do big concerts and tours happen?
Apr 30, 2020 13 tweets 3 min read
1. Hello! Here’s a non-Covid thing. Liberty and iHeartMedia want to merge. It would be a nightmare for every other part of the music industry. If there was ever a merger to stop, this is the one. 2. Liberty isn’t a public-facing company and it likes it that way. But it wields immense power. It owns SiriusXM, the satellite radio monopoly. It owns Pandora, the top radio streaming service. It controls Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the top promoter and ticketing service.
Mar 26, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
1. just a reminder that the US has 600,000 fewer hospital beds today than it did in the late 1970s. A quick thread. 2. This was no accident. Policy created this shortage. The first thing is the influence of investment capital on hospitals. Investors - especially after the ACA passed - saw hospitals as a cash cow. How do you make hospitals more "efficient" - that is, profitable?
Cut beds.