Short Reads

Wanted: fast solutions for fast-growing platforms

Wanted: fast solutions for fast-growing platforms

Wanted: fast solutions for fast-growing platforms

05.09.2019 NL law

Dominant digital companies be warned: calls for additional tools to deal with powerful platforms in online markets are increasing. Even though the need for speed is a given in these fast-moving markets, the question of which tool is best-suited for the job remains. Different countries are focusing on different areas; the Dutch ACM wants to pre-emptively strike down potential anti-competitive conduct with ex ante measures, while the UK CMA aims for greater regulation of digital markets and a quick fix through interim orders.

The joint proposal by the French, German and Polish governments suggests swifter interim measures, specific scrutiny for major digital platforms and behavioural remedies. The G7 Competition Authorities are calling for closer international cooperation and convergence in the application of competition rules. Digital companies may therefore soon have to reckon with special regimes and interim or ex ante behavioural measures, supplementing the current scrutiny.

The vast number of possible enforcement tools suggested by governments, experts and competition authorities is aimed at keeping pace with the dynamics of online markets. Around the same time as the publication of the European Commission's expert panel report on competition policy for the digital era (see our May 2019 Newsletter) and the UK government's digital expert panel report, a Franco-German manifesto, alongside a call from the Dutch government for additional tools to regulate tech giants, was published (see our June 2019 Newsletter). These initiatives have now been supplemented with the ACM's support of the Dutch government's call for additional tools, the launch of the CMA's digital markets strategy, a joint proposal by France, Germany and Poland, and a common understanding of G7 competition authorities on competition and the digital economy.

All of these suggestions and initiatives recognise the need for competition authorities to have the ability to swiftly correct anti-competitive conduct by powerful online platforms with, for instance, interim measures. The ACM even suggests an ex ante tool, giving competition authorities the possibility to intervene with proportionate behavioural remedies before any competition law infringement has been established. Others suggest a specific regulatory framework to which major digital platforms should adhere. Most agree that data sharing, platform access and data portability should form part of the solution and that any solution should have support at least EU-wide, but ideally also internationally, considering that major online platforms usually operate on a global scale.

It remains to be seen how the incoming European Commission will take things forward. For now, dominant digital companies are forewarned of imminent changes and advised to monitor on-going developments including the CMA's market study into online platforms and the digital advertising market, the ACM's investigation into Apple's App Store (see our May 2019 newsletter), Spotify's complaint against Apple with the European Commission and the European Commission's investigation into Amazon's use of data from independent retailers who sell on its marketplace.

 

 

This article was published in the Competition Newsletter of September 2019. Other articles in this newsletter:

 

Team

Related news

12.05.2020 NL law
Kroniek van het mededingingsrecht

Articles - Wat de gevolgen van de coronacrisis zullen zijn voor de samenleving, de economie en – laat staan – het mededingingsbeleid laat zich op het moment van de totstandkoming van deze kroniek niet voorspellen. Wel stond al vast dat het mededingingsrecht zal worden herijkt op basis van de fundamentele uitdagingen die voortvloeien uit zich ontwikkelende ideeën over het belang van industriepolitiek, klimaatverandering en de positie van tech-ondernemingen en de platforms die zij exploiteren.

Read more

07.05.2020 NL law
Spreading fast: Dutch and Belgian COVID-19 State-aid approved

Short Reads - Many Member States are taking measures to support the economy during the COVID-19 crisis. The European Commission’s Temporary Framework enables the rapid approval of certain types of State aid. So far, three Dutch State aid schemes and six Belgian schemes were approved, providing the beneficiaries with legal certainty that the aid received is in line with EU State aid law and cannot be challenged at a later stage.

Read more

07.05.2020 NL law
ECJ confirms: no shortcut for ‘by object’ antitrust infringements

Short Reads - The European Court of Justice has found there is no shortcut for determining whether particular conduct can be held to have the object to restrict competition. A competition authority will always need to assess carefully whether the conduct reveals "a sufficient degree of harm to competition” before labelling it a ‘by object’ infringement. This is the case where there is sufficiently solid and reliable experience showing that this type of conduct is commonly regarded as being inherently anticompetitive.

Read more

28.04.2020 EU law
Origin of the primary ingredient - Implementing Regulation 2018/775

Short Reads - Since the beginning of this month, the origin of the primary ingredient of a food must be clearly indicated on the product when it differs from the origin given for the product as a whole. This is the result of the implementation of Article 26 (3) of the European Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers.  

Read more

07.05.2020 NL law
COVID-19: fast-forwarding competition law

Short Reads - Competition authorities are temporarily ‘green-lighting’ certain collaboration initiatives to safeguard the supply of essential products in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. At the same time, authorities warn against using the current exceptional circumstances to engage in anti-competitive practices, such as price-fixing, excessive pricing, refusals to deal or opportunistic takeovers. 

Read more

This website uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential for the technical functioning of our website and you cannot disable these cookies if you want to read our website. We also use functional cookies to ensure the website functions properly and analytical cookies to personalise content and to analyse our traffic. You can either accept or refuse these functional and analytical cookies.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring