According to Barry C. Lynn and Phillip Longman
But while the mystery of what killed the great American jobs machine has yielded no shortage of debatable answers, one of the more compelling potential explanations has been conspicuously absent from the national conversation: monopolization. The word itself feels anachronistic, a relic from the age of the Rockefellers and Carnegies. But the fact that the term has faded from our daily discourse doesn’t mean the thing itself has vanished—in fact, the opposite is true. In nearly every sector of our economy, far fewer firms control far greater shares of their markets than they did a generation ago.
Antitrust enforcers weren’t content simply to prevent giant firms from closing off markets. In dozens of cases between 1945 and 1981, antitrust officials forced large companies like AT&T, RCA, IBM, GE, and Xerox to make available, for free, the technologies they had developed in-house or gathered through acquisition. Over the thirty-seven years this policy was in place, American entrepreneurs gained access to tens of thousands of ideas—some patented, some not—including the technologies at the heart of the semiconductor. The effect was transformative. In Inventing the Electronic Century, the industrial historian Alfred D. Chandler Jr. argued that the explosive growth of Silicon Valley in subsequent decades was largely set in motion by these policies and the “middle-level bureaucrats” in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division who enforced them in the field.