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Your Weekly Digest | 3/2022

Valur Thrainsson
6 min read

Welcome to CompetitionFeed, a weekly newsletter with the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs and journal publications. Never miss an update. If you’d like to receive issues over email, you can sign-up here.

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Good morning!

Last week we sifted through 5.000+ articles from 100+ publishers to help you stay updated!

Below are the pieces that I have handpicked and find the most recent and relevant competition and anti-trust news, blogs, and journal publications.

Enjoy

Kind regards, Valur
Senate committee votes to advance major tech antitrust bill | CNBC
  • The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 16-6 on a bipartisan basis Thursday to advance a major tech competition bill.
  • Some experts consider the American Innovation and Choice Online Act legislators’ best shot at making substantial reform to laws that govern Big Tech.
  • If passed, the bill would have significant implications for Amazon, Apple and Google in particular.
Read More
Tech giants in the past decade have funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into lobbying, advertising, polling and research to advance their political interests in Washington. Now some of their top adversaries are forming a plan to use that same playbook to press Congress to pass bills that would place new limits on how they wield power over their rivals. Read more.
US competition enforcers launch overhaul of merger approval process | The Verge
On Tuesday, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission launched a joint effort to modernize antitrust enforcement, seeking comment on how the agencies can apply current law in cases against tech companies like Meta (parent company of Facebook) and Google.
Read More
Vestager: Metaverse poses new competition challenges | POLITICO
The EU’s digital chief Margrethe Vestager wants the future operation of the so-called metaverse to face more scrutiny, saying that plans to create an all-encompassing virtual reality environment pose new challenges for antitrust regulators.
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Alcogroup and Alcodis have challenged Commission’s decisions adopted in antitrust case AT.40054 — Ethanol Benchmarks. The action was published today in the Official Journal under the case reference Alcogroup... Read more.
The European Commission has published today the findings of its competition sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things (IoT). The final report and its accompanying staff working document identify potential competition concerns in the rapidly growing markets for IoT related products and services in the European Union. Read more.
Just before 2021 ended, Apple suffered a loss in the Netherlands where a national court in preliminary relief proceedings struck down its attempt to block the remedies imposed by the Dutch competition authority following a finding of abuse of dominance. As a result, as of last weekend, Apple is forced to accept third-party payment solutions implemented in (paid) dating apps in the Dutch storefront of the App Store. While this case may seem rather marginal, it may have significant implications for the entire discussion of the Apple App Store. This post will explore how this seemingly niche case may give rise to quite a few legal challenges for both Apple and (national) competition authorities. Read more.
In a new paper, Giuseppe Colangelo and Oscar Borgogno investigate whether antitrust policy is sufficiently flexible to keep up with the dynamics of digital app stores, and whether regulatory interventions are required in order to address their unique features. The authors summarize their findings in this blog post. App stores are at the forefront of... Read more.
Labor policies grounded in the fundamental rights of workers can reinforce the aims of a proposed labor antitrust agenda by limiting a firm’s ability to abuse market power. Drawing from studies of guest worker programs that grant firms control over the sponsorship of foreign nationals to work legally in the US, policymakers and economists should... Read more.
On January 21, 2022, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced increased thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR). The thresholds are indexed to changes in the gross national product (GNP). Read more.
We analyze the competition issues in mobile money in Kenya–where Safaricom is the market leader–and in Uganda: where the market is duopolistic. We evaluate the multi-sided platform characteristics that have underpinned the rapid growth of the lead mobile money platforms and that also imply that the market leaders have substantial market power and can act as gatekeepers. The conduct of the lead firms is assessed along with competition measures and regulatory interventions made in each country. The analysis highlights the importance of–and challenges for–competition enforcement in developing countries to ensure effective rivalry while realizing the gains from innovation in digital platforms. Read more.
Viktoria H S E Robertson
The Austrian legislator recently introduced a sustainability exemption into Austria’s national antitrust laws and thereby entered uncharted territory. The new sustainability exemption, which can be found in amended § 2 para. 1 Cartel Act, appears to be the first legally binding exemption of its kind to be included in competition laws worldwide. Read more.
Kadir Baş
Googles AdWords is a primary tool used by Google to monetize its search engine services. AdWords works as an auction where advertisers bid on a keyword to display their ads at the upper rank of Google’s search engine results page. Google’s AdWords policy was recently challenged by the Turkish Competition Authority (‘TCA’). In November 2020, the TCA fined Google for abusing its dominant position in the market for general search services by disadvantaging organic search results in the market for content services through placing intensively AdWords at the top of the general search result page and in a way that creates confusion about their advertising nature. To end the infringement, the TCA required Google to revise the display of AdWords such that it would not exclude organic search results. Read more.
Ginger Zhe Jin, Mario Leccese & Liad Wagman
Some argue that large platforms, such as Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft (or GAFAM), are unusual in their number, pace and concentration of technology mergers, with the potential to harm market competition. Using a unique taxonomy developed by S&P Global Market Intelligence, we compare the M&A activities of GAFAM to other top acquirers from 2010 to 2020. Read more.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of CompetitionFeed.com. Email: valur@competitionfeed.com
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