John Deere is the leading manufacturer of agricultural equipment in the American and North American markets, with market shares of approximately 53 percent of large farm tractors in North America, and 60 percent of the combine segment. Recently, John Deere sent shock waves through the American farming community when it announced a new policy of locking farmers out of the John Deere software on their equipment, so that farmers cannot repair or maintain their own machines, as they have done for decades. This article briefly discusses how John Deere’s repair tie-in may violate antitrust and consumer protection laws before turning to a different and more nefarious antitrust issue. John Deere now asserts that it solely owns the vast array of data gathered within the software in each of Deere’s machines. We discuss how collecting, controlling, and amalgamating this stupendous array of individual farm data is allowing Deere to attempt to monopolize the exploding market for digital agricultural information. We further discuss how John Deere may further be conspiring to monopolize that market through its digital agricultural information partnerships with such agricultural behemoths as Bayer/Monsanto, DowDupont, and BASF.


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