Strong

Opinion | In a House subcommittee’s report, a strong step toward an antitrust revival

The subcommittee revived a key function of Congress: the power to investigate, report and set the stage for legislation. The report itself may become a keystone in a long-overdue dawning of progressive tech reforms.

Since the mid-1970s, Congress has celebrated the rise of new technology and tech businesses. Both political parties, for different reasons, dismissed antitrust concerns as a relic of a bygone age. For Democrats, globalization and technology seemed to guarantee competition. When antitrust was excised from the party platform in 1992, it had been there since the Gilded Age. For Republicans, markets cured themselves; antitrust was simply another form of regulatory abuse.

Into the vacuum between these positions came the rapacious Big Four. The subcommittee report details how they came to operate at unprecedented scale and reach. The companies’ combined valuation is more than $5 trillion. Add in Microsoft ($1.5 trillion) and Tesla ($275 billion), and the collective value is nearly equal to that of the NASDAQ 100.

The Big Four have enormous influence given their hold on communications infrastructure (Facebook, Google), e-commerce (Amazon), and start-ups and entrepreneurs (Apple). They directly compete with businesses that use their markets. The report tracked how they have gouged suppliers and imitated, acquired or eliminated competitors. It showed how their profits allow them to enter into new lines of business, where they repeat their predatory strategies.

As the subcommittee detailed, the Big Four have acquired hundreds of companies, often to eliminate potential competitors, in what are known as “killer acquisitions.” Meanwhile, antitrust regulators are underfunded — or possibly compromised by lobbying — and seldom are their powers exercised under antitrust laws to block mergers. Of nearly 100 Facebook acquisitions, the Federal Trade Commission extensively investigated only its 2012 purchase of Instagram (over which the FTC took no action).

When monopolies have unlimited

Colts’ Interior O-Line Makes Strong Impression on PFF ‘Team of the Week’

INDIANAPOLIS — Let’s just say that Sunday didn’t go as planned for the Indianapolis Colts.

They arrived in Northern Ohio to play the Cleveland Browns and rarely had control of the game outside of the first quarter. Ultimately, the Colts lost 32-23, yielding a season-high 385 yards defensively and giving up two interceptions and a safety on offense.

However, this piece isn’t to dwell on the outcome of Sunday’s matchup. We’ve done that already.

This is to point out some of the Colts’ bright spots in the game, such as left guard Quenton Nelson and center Ryan Kelly, who made the Pro Football Focus “NFL Week 5 Team of the Week.”

There were some splash plays in all three phases of the game, so there was some recognition given by PFF in spots throughout the roster. Here are the Colts players who ranked in the top 10 of their position in Week 5.

Ryan Kelly, Quenton Nelson, Mark Glowinski

Center No. 1 (91.1), 56 snaps (100%) | Guard No. 4 (80.5), 56 snaps (100%) |

Guard No. 6 (78.4), 56 snaps (100%)

The Colts offensive tackles had a long day at the office while squaring off with Browns edge defenders Myles Garrett and Olivier Vernon, but the interior of the line held firm for the most part.

While Nelson and Kelly made the “Team of the Week,” right guard Mark Glowinski had a big day himself, raking in the No. 6 guard grade.

When the Colts ran between left guard to right guard, they totaled nine carries for 43 yards (4.8 avg.), two first downs, and one run of 10-plus yards. Kelly was especially productive with a run-blocking grade of 95.2, which was the best of any player in Week 5.

Between the three, PFF docked them for just

IKEA Sees Strong Demand for Work Desks and Kitchen Gear

IKEA reported a drop in annual sales blaming store closures early in the coronavirus pandemic but said consumers have flocked to its stores since lockdowns lifted to buy desks, chairs and kitchens.

About 75% of the furniture retailer’s stores were closed for between seven to 10 weeks because of coronavirus lockdowns. That resulted in visits to IKEA stores falling nearly 16% for its fiscal year, and lower revenue from its restaurants, which typically make up about 5% of sales.

Overall, Ingka Group—the largest IKEA franchisee and operator—on Tuesday reported sales of €35.2 billion, equivalent to $41.5 billion, for the 12 months to Aug. 31, down from €36.7 billion a year earlier. It didn’t disclose profit figures.

Chief Executive Jesper Brodin said in an interview that consumption trends around the world had been similar through the pandemic. Early on, shoppers bought desks, office chairs and cooking equipment. Interest then moved toward home organization items such as shelving and baskets. Demand for kitchens was also high, with people taking advantage of time at home to install them.

IKEA said online sales make up 18% of the company’s overall revenue. A company’s store in Shanghai in July.



Photo:

alex plavevski/Shutterstock

“Lately, we see a lot of interest in beautification,” said Mr. Brodin. “A lot of people are taking the opportunity to update their homes.”

The comments echo those from rival

Home Depot Inc.,

which in August posted its strongest quarterly sales growth in nearly 20 years, saying the home had never been more important to consumers than during the pandemic.

IKEA said online sales grew 60% and now make up 18% of the company’s overall revenue, up from 11% a year ago.

To meet surging online demand, IKEA repurposed its stores to act as fulfillment centers, rolled out click-and-collect at new locations and

Kemper House continues the fight against COVID: Strong Points

STRONGSVILLE, Ohio – Since the start of the pandemic, most of us have been waiting for a time when “this is all over” and “we can return to normal”. Yet at this time, there seems to be no end in sight. Kemper House has worked very hard to keep COVID-19 out of our homes. We are committed to continuing the fight but we also need to get back to putting the needs of our residents and staff first whenever possible in this uphill battle.

As you may be aware, the Ohio Department of Aging and Governor DeWine have mandated that residential care facilities must test all employees every two weeks for COVID-19. Their initial testing program was suspended a couple of weeks ago due to a high number of false positives at the earliest testing facilities. The State has now contracted with a new vendor, Mako Labs out of North Carolina, to process the tests. Testing started on Sept. 30 at Kemper House Strongsville and will take place every other Wednesday after that until the end of the emergency or the State says otherwise. The State does not provide support for the actual testing, however, which must be performed at Kemper House by our nurses. With over 5 million Americans now living with the debilitating effects of Alzheimer’s disease, Kemper House is striving to keep residents safe.

Kemper House is a family owned and operated residential care facility that specializes in caring for individuals with all stages and all types of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias up to and including end of life and hospice care. They provide long-term care, adult day care, and short-term respite stays. They have two locations in the greater Cleveland area: Strongsville and Highland Heights. For more information, go to www.kemperhousestrongsville.com.

Gold Plus Award: Strongsville