As many of the world’s largest companies are platform-based technology companies, there has been a growing push worldwide to regulate these companies to address issues arising from economic, political and communications power. At the same time, their distinctive platform business models raise new challenges to regulators, such as what industries they are in, what problems connect to which regulatory authority, and who has jurisdictional authority and regulatory capacity. The paper argues that regulators increasingly need to “think like Google”: they need to be able to adopt holistic strategies that can apply across industry silos and different regulatory responsibilities. There is also a need to empower the notion of regulation in the public interest, to challenge the ideational power of tech companies that they are superior stewards of public good to government agencies.

By Terry Flew[1]


I. The Challenge of Platform Business Models

The 2020s have been a period where the policy spotlight has been thrown upon the power of Big Tech. The reasons are not surprising. Platform-based technology companies experienced phenomenal growth during the 2010s and early 2020s, to become the world’s largest companies and most valuable brands.

According to Kantar BrandZ, the seven most valuable brands in 2021 were platform-based technology companies (in order): Amazon, Apple, Google, Microsoft, Tencent, Facebook, and Alibaba.[2] They sit alongside a slew of other tech-base


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