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 […]

‘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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

During the past few weeks the number of complaints against Apple’s practices concerning the App Store has not gone unnoticed. While previous complaints by unhappy developers were perceived as isolated cases it would seem that now the flood gates have been opened, and the stream is primarily targeting Apple. In Europe, this development has been given quite some media coverage […]

2018:270 MEO – Serviços de Comuniçações e Multimédia SA v Autoridade da Concorrência

2018:270 MEO – Serviços de Comuniçações e Multimédia SA v Autoridade da Concorrência

Reference for a preliminary ruling — Competition — Abuse of dominant position — Subparagraph (c) of the second paragraph of Article 102 TFEU — Concept of ‘competitive disadvantage’ — Discriminatory prices on the downstream market — Cooperative for the management of rights relating to copyright — Royalty payable by domestic entities which provide a paid television signal transmission service and television content

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

The recent complaint of Spotify against Apple is yet another case concerning the contractual relationship between online platforms and their business users that appear to arise quite often these days. In the context of these cases the business users of online platforms claim to be subject to undesired practices such discriminatory treatment and unreasonable pricing. The essence of most of […]