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Your Weekly Digest | 4/2022

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.

Intel wins appeal against €1.06 billion EU antitrust fine | POLITICO
Judges at the EU's lower court rejected a €1.06 billion fine the European Commission slapped on U.S. chipmaker Intel almost 13 years ago on charges of abusing its market dominance and deploying a strategy to exclude a competitor from the market.
The EU General Court said Wednesday that "it annuls in its entirety the article of the contested decision which imposes on Intel a fine of €1.06 billion in respect of the infringement found."
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FCC chair plans to block exclusive deals that limit ISP choice in apartments | Ars Technica
The Federal Communications Commission is on course to block some types of exclusive deals that ISPs and landlords use to prevent broadband competition in apartment buildings and other multiple-tenant environments.
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The EU has cleared Meta/Facebook’s acquisition of CRM maker, Kustomer — accepting a set of commitments from the tech giant to allay competition concerns linked to the fact it also owns a suite of popular messaging apps frequently used by small businesses for customer outreach (aka Faceb… Read more. 
Amazon must shut down the price-fixing program known as "Sold by Amazon" (SBA) under a legally binding resolution announced today by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Amazon had already suspended the program amid an investigation, but the settlement prevents the program from being restarted. Read more.
Today, the Federal Trade Commission sued to block Lockheed Martin Corporation’s $4.4 billion proposed vertical acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc, the last independent U.S. supplier of missile propulsion systems. Aerojet supplies advanced power, propulsion, and armament systems, which are critical components for the missiles made by Lockheed and other defense prime contractors. The agency’s complaint alleges that if the deal is allowed to proceed, Lockheed will use its control of Aerojet to harm rival defense contractors and further consolidate multiple markets critical to national security and defense. This is the agency's first litigated defense merger challenge in decades. Read more.
A federal grand jury in Portland, Maine, returned an indictment charging four managers of home health care agencies with participating in a conspiracy to suppress the wages and restrict the job mobility of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more.
The European Commission has approved, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of Ferro by Prince, both active in the manufacturing of mineral-based chemicals and industrial additives and products. The approval is conditional on full compliance with commitments offered by Prince. Read more.
Apple has failed to satisfy the requirements set by ACM regarding payment systems for dating-app providers. ACM has come to this conclusion following an investigation into Apple’s statements of January 15, 2022. Read more.
On 26 January 2022, the EU’s General Court (GC) annulled the European Commission’s (EC) €1.06 billion fine on Intel for abusing a dominant position with its rebate schemes.[1] The judgment demonstrates that the European Courts are prepared to look in detail at evidence and economic analysis in antitrust cases, and will annul EC decisions if... Read more.
The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook (now Meta Platforms Inc.). Judge James E. Boasberg dismissed it. The FTC then filed an amended complaint. And the same judge just denied Facebook’s motion to dismiss that complaint. Read more.
The CMA has today launched a market study into music streaming. This is a step that could lead to a range of interventions: The CMA could issue guidance or recommendations;It could launch enforceme… Read more. 
Hal Singer
An army of Big Tech lobbyists has reportedly descended upon Capitol Hill to try to convince lawmakers that a suite of legislation designed to plug gaps in antitrust law would be a death knell for their platforms. But this is just the latest scare tactic from companies like Amazon and their minions. As Congress evaluates the bills currently on the table, it must call Big Tech’s bluff on these claims and make beefing up our competition policies a top priority for 2022. Read more.
Richard J. Gilbert
Several bills introduced in Congress would, if enacted, bolster antitrust enforcement for the digital economy. They designate “covered platforms” that are understood to include Alphabet (Google), Apple, Meta (Facebook) and Amazon, and might include others such as Microsoft. The limitation to a subset of firms is troubling. A virtue of existing antitrust laws is that they are agnostic to the identities of the firms that might engage in unlawful conduct, with only a few statutory exceptions. This anonymity insulates antitrust enforcement from regulatory capture: the tendency of regulators to serve the interests of the industries they are tasked with regulating. Read more.
Steve Cicala
This paper evaluates changes in electricity generation costs caused by the introduction of market mechanisms to determine production in the United States. I use the staggered transition to markets from 1999 to 2012 to estimate the causal impact of liberalization using a differences-in-difference design on a comprehensive hourly panel of electricity demand, generators' costs, capacities, and output. I find that markets reduce production costs by 5 percent by reallocating production: gains from trade across service areas increase by 55 percent based on a 25 percent increase in traded electricity, and costs from using uneconomical units fall 16 percent. Read more.
Herbert Hovenkamp
The idea that consideration of error costs should inform judgments about actions with uncertain consequences is well established. When we act on imperfect information, we consider not only the probability of an event, but also the expected costs of making an error. In 1984 Frank Easterbrook used this idea to rationalize an anti-enforcement bias in antitrust, reasoning that markets are likely to correct monopoly in a relatively short time while judicial errors are likely to persist. As a result, false positives (recognizing a problem when there is none) are more costly than false negatives. While the problem of error cost bias is not explicitly mentioned all that frequently in antitrust cases, its influence is broad and deep, guiding the formation of presumptions and burdens of proof. Read more.
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Kind regards, Valur Þráinsson, Founder of CompetitionFeed.com. Email: valur@competitionfeed.com
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