Abuse of relative dominance in the platform economy: a French court finds Amazon’s contracts with third-party sellers significantly imbalanced

Abuse of relative dominance in the platform economy: a French court finds Amazon’s contracts with third-party sellers significantly imbalanced

Two years ago (before Amazon became entangled in a patchwork of investigations by competition authorities), Reuters reported: ‘France files complaint against Amazon for abuse of dominant position’. The news report did not garner a lot of attention. More surprisingly, neither did the recent judgment of the Paris Commercial Court on the complaint. As the judgment offers insight into several pressing […]

Competition law and public procurement – an easy catch for competition enforcers?

Competition law and public procurement – an easy catch for competition enforcers?

If you ask what the common recent trends are among EU Member States in competition law enforcement, the answer surprisingly (or not) would be related not to digital economies but to public procurement. Lately national competition authorities had quite a fruitful harvest investigating competition law infringements in public procurement markets. Among them are, for example, the French, Italian, Dutch, Hellenic, […]

‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’: when does copying your competitor’s product become anticompetitive?

‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’: when does copying your competitor’s product become anticompetitive?

‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’, read a recent tweet by Jeff Morris Jr. (Tinder’s director of product). ‘There are no rules anymore’, the author continued, ‘if you build a product that works, Amazon or Facebook will copy it.’ The tweet was prompted by the apparent copying by Amazon of Allbirds. Allbirds is a brand famous for its […]

Crossroads in EU Competition Law: green light or stop sign for non-economic goals?

Crossroads in EU Competition Law: green light or stop sign for non-economic goals?

On the 6th of September, Reuters broke the news that the U.S. Department of Justice launched an antitrust investigation in the voluntary agreements on emission standards between four automakers and the State of California. This probe should be viewed in the light of a larger bureaucratic conflict. As part of its general deregulatory program, the Trump Administration is planning to […]

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

The interest of national competition authorities in the matter of online platforms and competition law is becoming increasingly visible. In the case of the Dutch competition authority this growing interest has recently resulted in a call for introducing ex-ante enforcement tools in the context of online platforms. Although the idea may indeed be constructive for the adaption of the current […]

Is there hope for competition in the rail sector?

Is there hope for competition in the rail sector?

The blocking of the Siemens-Alstom merger reminded everyone of the ‘pros and cons’ arguments in the debate on the liberalisation and competition in network industries. Despite the EU actions to liberalise rail markets and open them to competition, the issues relevant to incumbents who own both the rail infrastructure and freight operations are still at present. Several years ago the […]

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

The 17th of July has been quite the day for Amazon, at least when it comes to antitrust. Firstly, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt) has closed its abuse of dominance proceedings against Amazon in return for concessions from the online marketplace. Secondly, the European Commission announced that it was opening a formal investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by Amazon. This […]

Audit and consulting services sector to face ‘unbundling’ by competition laws?

Audit and consulting services sector to face ‘unbundling’ by competition laws?

Lately in Europe, international accounting and consulting firms have been facing a number of legal issues due to infringements of audit, finance and competition laws. After a market study, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published proposals for improvements in the auditing sector; among them, legislative amendments to split up auditing from consulting services. This ‘unbundling’ of activities […]

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The MFN cases of the past few years have delivered a series of uncoordinated cases that created a fragmented approach towards MFN clauses. Nowadays it would appear that there is a growing consensus in Europe that wide MFN clauses should be prohibited which, also led major platform like Expedia to abandon these pricing strategies. The recent claim put forward by […]