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 […]

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 6th, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt or BKA) adopted its long-awaited Facebook decision, imposing far-reaching restrictions on how the social network can collect and process user data. This decision follows a preliminary assessment that the BKA published in December 2017, which this blog discussed at length. The BKA’s decision—as set out in a case summary and background paper—sticks […]

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

The investigation On 29 November 2018, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) announced an investigation into Amazon’s business terms and practices on its German marketplace. The Bundeskartellamt’s president commented: Amazon is the largest online retailer and operates by far the largest online marketplace in Germany. Many retailers and manufacturers depend on the reach of Amazon’s marketplace for their online sales. Amazon […]

The Commission’s Android decision: Google cements its dominance in search… to the benefit of consumers?

The Commission’s Android decision: Google cements its dominance in search… to the benefit of consumers?

Last week’s Commission decision on Google’s Android operating system made for great headlines. On top of the eye-watering fine of €4.3 billion, it even had the dubious honour of eliciting a presidential tweet. It was the kind of decision that sparked extensive papers long before its adoption, and a barrage of commentary immediately afterwards. Now that the dust has settled, […]

The Commission’s Gazprom decision – an environmentally relevant demonstration of the Commission’s power

The Commission’s Gazprom decision – an environmentally relevant demonstration of the Commission’s power

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is making a name for herself as the Commissioner who really takes on the ‘big whales’ of international corporations and holds them accountable to EU competition law. After the Commission took on international tech giants like Google and Facebook under Vestager’s stewardship, the Russian energy giant Gazprom has now been added as the latest feather in […]

Online platforms and refusal to deal – Unlockd vs. Google- a seminal case in the making?

Online platforms and refusal to deal – Unlockd vs. Google- a seminal case in the making?

The recent standoff between advertisement application developer Unlockd and Google, concerning the removal of Unlockd from the Google Play Store and AdMob marketplace, may turn out to be one of the most important competition law cases of the year. This case, which will likely require a competition law review of Google’s terms and conditions for these platforms, provides the opportunity […]

Price discrimination and abuse of dominance – MEO Case C-525/16

Price discrimination and abuse of dominance – MEO Case C-525/16

The recent case of MEO delivers a meaningful clarification concerning the importance of an effects analysis in the case of art. 102 (c) TFEU. While not providing an ultimate solution for all comparable future cases, the CJEU in this case clearly indicates that term ‘competitive disadvantage’ constitutes an independent element of art. 102 (c) TFEU that requires proof.   Background […]

Online platforms and abuse of dominance – the case of Funda Real Estate

Online platforms and abuse of dominance – the case of Funda Real Estate

The application of EU competition law to online platforms has been subject to much debate in the course of the past two years. The EU Commission and several national competition law authorities have launched multiple studies in order to identify the possible challenges in this context and establish an action plan. The distinguishing characteristics of online platforms including: the reliance […]