Antitrust in the digital sector

Foreword Antitrust in the digital sector: An overview of EU and national case law

In ten years, digital has become one of the main focuses, if not THE main one, of antitrust enforcers in Europe and worldwide. As a result, a very large number of competition law cases touch upon the question of digitalization. Over the past two years alone, hundreds of decisions and initiatives have been issued by competition enforcers worldwide, which aim to address some aspect(s) of the digital economy. This issue of e-Competitions devoted to “Antitrust in the Digital Sector” includes more than a hundred articles written on the subject in 2020-2021, and many more could have been added. It is obviously impossible, in this Foreword, to cover it all. We will therefore try to concentrate on the more significant developments of the past two years, starting with the paradigm-changing initiatives that have been proposed and, in some cases, already implemented for the ex ante regulation of platforms. The past two years have also seen numerous decisions and ongoing cases against the GAFAM, targeting both “classic” issues, including interoperability, foreclosure or exchanges of information, and evolving concerns, such as the boundary between privacy and competition law. Finally, digitalization has even impacted merger control. On this side of the Atlantic, the evolution of the European Commission’s doctrine regarding the application of Article 22 of Regulation No 139/2004 (the “European Merger Control Regulation” or “EUMR”) is meant to allow the Commission to look at acquisitions made by the largest platforms – with limited results so far. In the United States, agencies are proactively looking back to acquisitions made by the GAFAM in the past, entertaining the possibility of actually unwinding some of them.

Read more
Dechert (Paris)
Dechert (Paris)

General antitrust

The UK Competition Authority plans market investigation into mobile browsers and cloud gaming (Apple / Google)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Apple and Google “hold all the cards” with interventions needed to give innovators and competitors a fair chance to compete in mobile ecosystems CMA plans market investigation into mobile browsers and cloud gaming* The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is consulting on the launch of a (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes code of conduct advice for Big Tech platforms and publishers
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA publishes code of conduct advice for platforms and publishers* Big tech companies should agree fairer deals with online publishers in order to use their content, according to the UK’s competition watchdog. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has today published its joint advice (...)

The UK Government publishes its proposals for a new pro-competition regime in digital markets
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 6 May 2022 the UK government published its response to the July 2021 consultation on a new pro-competition regime for digital markets (see our blog post here), setting out its proposals for the design of a new regime to proactively shape the behaviour of the most powerful technology firms (...)

The Australian Competition Authority issues a report examining the operation of general online marketplaces
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Concerning issues for consumers and sellers on online marketplaces An ACCC report examining general online retail marketplaces, such as Amazon Australia, Catch, eBay Australia and Kogan, has highlighted a range of concerns about how they operate as well as the significant benefits they provide (...)

The Japanese FTC conducts a market study on credit card transactions and proposes that standard interchange fee rates be disclosed
White & Case (Tokyo)
,
White & Case (Tokyo)
,
White & Case (Tokyo)
On April 8, 2022, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (’JFTC’) published the Market Survey Report on Credit Card Transactions (’Report’). The JFTC conducted a survey on credit card transactions in order to ascertain disclosure of standard interchange fee rates and to determine whether there are any (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority initiates investigation into possible barriers to competition and the existence of essential facilities in the e-commerce market
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Cofece investigates possible barriers to competition and essential inputs in retail e-commerce market* The investigated market corresponds to the retail purchase and sale of goods through the internet. This is the first investigation in digital markets to determine whether barriers to (...)

The German Competition Authority launches sector inquiry into online credit scoring used in the German online retail sector
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt launches sector inquiry into scoring in the online retail sector* The Bundeskartellamt has launched a sector inquiry under consumer protection law into “scoring” practices used in the online retail sector. It deals with retailers’ prac-tices to check consumers’ credit standing, (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority investigates barriers to competition in the online retail market
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Cofece investigates possible barriers to competition and essential inputs in retail e-commerce market* The investigated market corresponds to the retail purchase and sale of goods through the internet. This is the first investigation in digital markets to determine whether barriers to (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority opens a market investigation into barriers to entry in the e-commerce market following increased popularity throughout COVID-19 pandemic
Baker Mckenzie (Mexico)
,
Baker Mckenzie (Mexico)
,
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
Mexico: COFECE investigates barriers to entry in the retail e-commerce market* In brief On 31 March 2022, the Investigating Authority of the Federal Economic Competition Commission (COFECE) published notice of the initiation of an investigation, into the retail electronic commerce (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority releases new guidelines for consumers to recognize and report online reviews in violation of the Canadian federal competition Act
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
New Competition Bureau Guidelines for Online Reviews* On March 2, 2022, the Competition Bureau released new guidelinesfor consumers to recognize, reject and report false and misleading online reviews, which can violate the general civil or criminal misleading advertising provisions of the (...)

The EU Commission publishes final version of its proposed Data Act, with harmonised rules on fair access to and use of data in the Union
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
The EU’s Data Act: Capstone of the EU Data Strategy* On 23 February 2022, the EU Commission published its long-awaited Data Act, the last major building block of the Commission’s February 2020 Data Strategy. The Data Act Is an ambitious piece of legislation with implications for consumers and (...)

The European Commission drafts new competition rules for Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and guidelines for vertical restraints scheduled to take effect in June 2022
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
I. The context The European Commission (“EC”) is currently revising the rules governing vertical agreements under EU competition law, which will expire on May 31, 2022. In this respect, on July 9, 2021, the EC published its long-awaited draft revised Vertical Block Exemption Regulation (“Draft (...)

The French Competition Authority starts ex officio proceedings to analyse competition conditions in the cloud computing sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence starts proceedings ex officio to analyse competition conditions in the cloud computing sector* During his hearing on 12 January 2022 before the French National Assembly (Assemblée nationale), Benoit Cœuré indicated that the digital sector would be one of the (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report closing the sector inquiry on the consumer ’Internet of Things’
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On January 20, 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) published its final report closing the sector inquiry launched in July 2020 on the consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”). The report gives an overview of trends and competition issues in the European landscape. It is based on answers (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the consumer Internet of Things ahead of the final ’DMA’ negotiations, indicating material competition concerns in digital assistant markets
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2022, the European Commission (“Commission”) issued its (short) final report on the sector inquiry into consumer Internet of Things (“Report”), along with an explanatory Commission staff working document. The Report identifies various practices that may limit competition and justify (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on a consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry which confirms its preliminary findings related to high entry barriers and issues around access to data
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 20 January 2022 the European Commission (“Commission“) published its final report on the consumer Internet of Things (“IoT“) sector inquiry, largely confirming its preliminary findings issued in July 2021. These include concerns around high market entry barriers, the influence on the market of a (...)

The EU Commission publishes its final report on the consumer ’Internet of Things’ sector inquiry
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes final report on consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry* 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 (...)

The EU Commission alongside the US FTC and DOJ launches a EU-US Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue to foster cooperation in competition policy and enforcement in the technology sector
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: EU-US launch Joint Technology Competition Policy Dialogue to foster cooperation in competition policy and enforcement in technology sector* Today, European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, US Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and the Assistant (...)

The US DoJ and FTC meet with fellow G7 enforcement partners to exchange on competition in digital markets
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission Meet with Fellow G7 Enforcement Partners on Competition in Digital Markets* Today, Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter of the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina M. Khan participated in a (...)

The EU Commission publishes a Communication on new challenges in competition policy, namely insisting on a progressive phase-out of the COVID-19 crisis and its efforts to deliver on the green and digital transitions Free
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
,
Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 18 November 2021, the European Commission (hereinafter the “Commission”) published a Communication on “A competition policy fit for new challenges” (hereinafter the “Communication”). The Communication provides an illustrative consolidation of the current work streams – both at the enforcement and (...)

The EU Commission adopts Communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges, including for the Single Market’s COVID-19 recovery, and for the green and digital transitions Free
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Competition: Commission outlines contribution of competition policy and its review to green and digital transition, and to a resilient Single Market* The European Commission has adopted a Communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges, which frames the important role of (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt publishes interim report on its sector inquiry into messenger and video services* Currently many users are concerned about how safe their personal data are in messenger and video services. Should legislators and authorities ensure the possibility for users to easily (...)

The Taiwanese Competition Authority issues a fine for deceptive trade practices over the use of a competitor’s name in online ads (Easytravel / Agoda)
Baker McKenzie (Taipei)
,
Baker McKenzie (Taipei)
Companies are advised to review their online marketing strategies in light of the new decision and current Taiwan Fair Trade Commission ("TFTC") guidance. TFTC guidance on Article 25 of the Taiwan Fair Trade Law, which addresses deceptive or unfair conduct, states that using a competitor’s name (...)

The EU Commission adopts a work programme for 2022 including a review of competition policy
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
On 19 October 2021, the Commission adopted its Work Programme for 2022 of key initiatives for the coming year and how these will be concretely pursued, particularly towards promoting a greener, more resilient, and digital post-COVID-19 Europe. The Work Programme contains 42 new initiatives (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces new big challenges for competition including merger law reform, the need to prove the future in competition cases, and the role of new regulation for digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Competition in Australia faces big challenges* Significant challenges facing competition law and policy need to be confronted and solved if our market economy is to work for all Australians, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said today. Innovation, productivity and the welfare of Australians depends on (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes its responses to two Government consultations on reforming competition policy and on adopting a new pro-competition regime for digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA welcomes government proposals on new powers* The CMA has responded to the government’s proposals to enhance its ability to tackle breaches of competition and consumer law and empower the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). Changes would see the CMA given the power to declare companies in breach of (...)

The Austrian Government amends the Cartel and Competition Act introducing new rules on merger control and digital platforms
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
Earlier this month, an extensive amendment of the Austrian Cartel Act came into force. The changes relate to merger control (thresholds and substantive review), digital platforms and the role of sustainability in competition law. In this blog post, we focus on the changes to the merger control (...)

The German Competition Authority presents the results of its sector inquiry into mobile apps which examines consumer rights
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Insufficient consumer protection in mobile apps: Bundeskartellamt identifies problems and proposes possible solutions* The Bundeskartellamt has today presented the results of its sector inquiry into mobile apps to examine consumer rights. Andreas Mundt, President of the Bundeskartellamt: “Apps (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes a study on the national online advertising sector
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC publishes a study on the online advertising sector in Spain* It analyses the competition conditions and warns that there is a high concentration level. It estimates that Google and Facebook absorb more than 70% of the market revenue. It points out risks such as opacity and other (...)

The Australian Competition Authority examines competition and consumer concerns with general online retail marketplaces (eBay / Amazon / Kogan / Catch)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Competition, consumer issues in general online marketplaces to be examined* The ACCC is examining competition and consumer concerns with general online retail marketplaces such as eBay Australia, Amazon Australia, Kogan and Catch.com.au as part of its inquiry into digital platform services in (...)

The Israeli Competition Authority recommends opening the network between person-to-person mobile payment applications
Israel Competition Authority (Jerusalem)
The Israel Competition Authority Recommends Opening the Network between P2P Payment Apps* The first study conducted by the Israel Competition Authority (ICA) in the digital economy arena demonstrates how the presence of a "network effect" enables a single firm to dominate the market. The vast (...)

The UK Government publishes consultations on far-reaching reforms to competition and consumer laws which would substantially expand the powers of the Competition Authority and reduce procedural protections
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The U.K. government is consulting on far-reaching reforms to U.K. competition and consumer laws, which would substantially expand the powers of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and reduce procedural protections. Key proposals include: Merger control jurisdiction enlarged: The CMA (...)

The UK Government publishes proposals for a new regulatory regime for digital markets alongside accompanying consultation documents
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
On 20 July 2021, the UK Government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (“DCMS”) and Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (“BEIS”) published proposals for a new regulatory regime for digital markets alongside accompanying consultation documents (the (...)

The UK Government publishes a consultation on its proposals for a competition regime for digital markets
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (London)
On 20 July 2021 the government published a consultation on its proposals for a new pro-competition regime for digital markets. The proposals are based on the recommendations set out in the Furman Review, the CMA’s final report of its market study into online platforms and advertising and the (...)

The UK Government consults the new digital competition regime and the establishment of the Digital Markets Unit
Bird & Bird (London)
Further to the UK Government’s plans, announced at the end of 2020, to set up a new digital competition regime, (summarized in our earlier article Anthony Rosen, The EU Commission and UK Government publish ground-breaking proposals which threaten to revolutionize the governance of digital (...)

The UK Government consults on proposed powers for the recently launched Digital Markets Unit
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
The UK Government is consulting on proposed powers for the recently launched Digital Markets Unit. This is a significant juncture in the reconfiguration of the post-Brexit regulatory landscape, marked by a determination to be a world leader in the regulation of digital markets. This (...)

The European Competition Network publishes a joint paper addressing the issue of the involvement of national competition authorities in the Digital Markets Act
Commission for the Protection of Competition of the Republic of Cyprus (Nicosia)
The European Competition Network publishes a joint paper addressing the issue of the involvement of national competition authorities in the Digital Markets Act* The European Competition Network (ECN) publishes a joint paper of the heads of the national competition authorities (NCAs) of the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes a study about the online advertising sector in which it identifies competition concerns
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) has recently published a study about the online advertising sector in which it analyses the market competition conditions, with a stress on ‘big tech’ practices. The study mentions, among other things, some key factors to tackle the set of competition (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation launches public consultations on its proposed amendments to administrative sanctions for price-related illegal activities with special focus on the digital sector
Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Shanghai)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Hong Kong)
The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China’s primary competition enforcement regulator, recently published a consultation draft of its amendments to the existing Provisions on Administrative Sanctions Against Price-related Illegal Activities on 2 July 2021 (the Provisions). The (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority assesses 4 digital sectors in order to evaluate their characteristics and impact on competition
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council assesses the online commerce* The Competition Council assesses four digital sectors, in Romania, in order to evaluate their characteristics and impact on the competition. The four sectors analysed are the following: online delivery intermediation services, online (...)

The US Congress marks up 6 newly proposed antitrust bills aimed at reigning in alleged anticompetitive and monopolistic conduct by Big Tech companies
Bona Law (San Diego)
,
Bona Law (Detroit)
Antitrust Political Developments: Biden Administration Issues Executive Order on Competition and Congress Proposes Six New Antitrust Bills* On June 23, the House Judiciary Committee marked up and reported favorably six new tech antitrust bills called to be a “historic package of bipartisan (...)

The European Competition Network publishes a joint position paper on how national competition authorities can strengthen the Digital Markets Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 23 June 2021, the heads of the national competition authorities (“NCAs”) published a joint position paper entitled How national competition authorities can strengthen the DMA (“NCA Paper”). The NCA Paper argues that NCAs are well placed to assist the European Commission (“Commission”) – and (...)

The EU Commission publishes a preliminary report setting out the initial findings of its sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
On 9 June 2021, the European Commission (EC) published a Preliminary Report setting out the initial findings of its sector inquiry into the consumer Internet of Things (“IoT”). The consumer IoT sector encompasses services, devices and technologies that support the interaction of consumers with (...)

The EU Commission publishes the initial findings of its inquiry into consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry page contents
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission publishes initial findings of consumer Internet of Things sector inquiry Page contents* The European Commission has published today the preliminary results of its competition sector inquiry into markets for consumer Internet of Things (IoT) related products and services (...)

The Danish Competition Authority publishes a report on the nature of competition in the digital platforms’ market
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority publishes report on the nature of competition in markets with digital platforms* As still more of our economy and social activities move online, digital platforms – and competition in the markets on which these digital platforms operate – play an (...)

The US State of New York Senate adopts the Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act to amend its state antitrust law
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Washington)
The New York state Senate has passed the “Twenty-First Century Antitrust Act” (S. 933) to amend its state antitrust law, radically changing the risks of doing business in New York. It ostensibly aims at so-called “Big Tech,” but applies to all businesses, even those having very little contact with (...)

The US State of New York Senate adopts a legislation prohibiting abuse of dominance and requiring new thresholds for the State’s pre-merger notification system
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
While Congress has been the epicenter of an ongoing antitrust debate—with US legislators on both sides of the aisle urging vast reforms—the New York State legislature is pursuing a state bill that would arguably ensnare more conduct and transactions in antitrust law’s web than anything proposed, (...)

The German, French, and Dutch Competition Authorities publish a "non-paper" containing several proposals to improve the Digital Market Act
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Macfarlanes (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
The interest of National Competition Authorities (“NCAs”) in playing a prominent role in the enforcement of the Digital Markets Act (“DMA”) is not new. Back in May 2021, the German, French and Dutch competition authorities published a “non-paper” entitled “Friends of an effective Digital Markets Act” (...)

The UK Competition Authority and the Information Commissioner’s Office publish a joint statement setting out their shared views on the relationship between competition and data protection in the digital economy
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
ICO and CMA set out blueprint for cooperation in digital markets* The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have published a joint statement, setting out their shared views on the relationship between competition and data protection in the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority launches a market study into cloud services
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM launches market study into cloud services* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has launched a study in order to find out whether the market for cloud services is functioning well for people and businesses in the Netherlands. The objective of the first phase of this (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority publishes a preliminary report on the e-marketplace sector inquiry
ACTECON (Istanbul)
,
ACTECON (Istanbul)
Recent developments in digitalization have triggered the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) to scrutinize more closely e-marketplace business models. The TCA has carried out a sector inquiry on e-marketplaces for this purpose and a preliminary report (“Report”) has been published on the official (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes its market study into the roll-out of fibre-optic broadband networks for households
Bird & Bird (The Hague)
,
KPN (Amsterdam)
On 6 May 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (“ACM”) published its updated market study (“FttH report”) into the roll-out in the Netherlands of fibre-optic broadband networks for households (Fiber-to-the-Home). The ACM started its FttH market study in April 2019 in response (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its views on the competition issues arising from Fintech
Toyota
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
Back in 2020, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) had announced, in its annual priorities, its interest in the competition implications of the digital revolution in the financial sector, notably in the context of the growth of FinTech, the introduction of blockchain technology and the (...)

The French Competition Authority publishes its report on the Fintech sector highlighting that the entry of big tech companies in the payment sector raises potential competition law risks
Bird & Bird (Paris)
,
Bird & Bird (Paris)
On 29 April The French Competition Authority (FCA) published its report on the Fintech sector. This report follows its payment sector inquiry launched in January 2020, which primarily focused on the disruption brought by new technologies and new market players. In this report the Authority (...)

The French Competition Authority issues an opinion closing the sector inquiry it launched in the payment sector in January 2020
Vaillant Group (Paris)
,
Huawei Technologies (Paris)
The French Competition Authority (FCA) has recently issued an opinion closing the sector inquiry it launched in the payment sector in January 2020. The FCA’s report mainly focuses on the disruption brought by new technologies and new market players in the sector, in particular BigTech companies. (...)

The Italian Government welcomes legislative proposals on competition law reform
Ashurst (Brussels)
,
Ashurst (Milan)
,
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 25 April 2021, the Italian Government submitted its Recovery and Resilience National Plan ("PNRR") to the national Parliament, which included proposals on competition law reform by the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA"). Key takeaways Reforming competition law is among the priorities of (...)

The US Senate introduces Senator Hawley’s proposal for an important antitrust reform aimed at Big Tech, Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma
White & Case (New York)
,
White & Case (Washington)
,
Meta (Washington DC)
Sen. Hawley’s "Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act," introduced on April 12, 2021, takes aim at "Big Tech, Big Banks, Big Telecom, and Big Pharma" by proposing to curb mergers and acquisitions by large corporations and ease the way for prosecutors and private plaintiffs to prevail in (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches the Digital Markets Unit to introduce, maintain and enforce a code of conduct regulating the provision of digital and online services
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 7 April 2021, the Digital Markets Unit ("DMU") was launched within the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA"). The DMU will, in the future, be tasked with oversight of the UK’s new digital regulatory regime, with powers and duties enshrined in legislation. Key takeaways The DMU has (...)

The UK Government launches the Digital Markets Unit as the first step towards an unashamedly pro-competition regime focused on the position of Big Tech
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
The UK Government has launched the much anticipated Digital Markets Unit (DMU) as a first step towards an “unashamedly pro-competition" regime focused on the position of “tech giants”. The DMU will, however, initially lack its own enforcement powers and there is still a lot to play for in terms (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches its Digital Markets Unit in order to boost and regulate online competition
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
New watchdog to boost online competition launches* A tough new regulator to help make sure tech giants such as Facebook and Google cannot exploit their market dominance to crowd out competition and stifle innovation online has launched. Digital Markets Unit begins work marking major milestone (...)

The Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf stays the proceedings against a social media company and announces a referral to the EU Court of Justice on questions of data protection law (Facebook)
Spieker & Jaeger (Dortmund)
Of Pricing Guns, Social Networks and GDPR: The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Courts submits Facebook Case to the CJEU* On 24 March 2021 the Higher Regional Court (‘Oberlandesgericht’) of Düsseldorf put yet another twist to the ‘Facebook Saga’. Although the formal written submission is not yet (...)

The Italian Competition Authority sends its proposals to the government which aim to remove legal and administrative burdens, open the markets and ensure the development of competition whilst promoting economic recovery in the country
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (Milan)
On 23 March 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) sent to the Italian government its proposals for changes to the Italian competition law for inclusion in the “annual law for competition” pursuant to Article 47 of Law 99/2009. The ICA reform proposals affect a broad variety of industries (...)

The Italian Competition Authority proposes pro-competitive legislative changes to the government
Hogan Lovells (Milan)
,
Hogan Lovells (Milan)
,
K&L Gates (Milan)
The document provides a summary of the proposal for pro-competitive legislative changes submitted by the Italian Competition Authority to the Italian Government on 23 March 2021. The Italian Competition Authority identifies eight trajectories of possible reform: 1. Measures to encourage and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority proposes an extensive competition law reform
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
On 23 March 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) submitted to the Italian Government a set of proposals to modify the Italian Competition Act (the “Proposal”). The Proposal concerns a wide range of areas, including the digital sector, certain network industries (e.g., port services and (...)

The US Government announces two key nominations at the White House and the FTC that signal a pro-enforcement approach to antitrust policy
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
President Biden has signaled a pro-enforcement approach to antitrust policy by naming Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu as a White House adviser and nominating Lina Khan, who also teaches at Columbia Law, to be commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Both are known for expansive (...)

The Japanese FTC extends the period for public comment on the proposed list of issues to be discussed by its study group on competition policy for the data market
White & Case (Tokyo)
,
White & Case (Tokyo)
,
White & Case (Tokyo)
The Competition Policy Research Center ("CPRC") of the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC") is seeking comments from the public on a list of proposed issues to be discussed at the Study Group on Competition Policy for Data Market ("Study Group"). The due date was originally set on January 15, (...)

The Australian Competition Authority seeks feedback from consumers on choice and competition in internet search and web browsers
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Feedback sought on choice and competition in internet search and web browsers* The ACCC is seeking submissions from consumers and industry participants about choice screens, which give users a choice of internet search services on mobiles and tablets, rather than a pre-selected search service, (...)

The UK Competition Authority announces the first work plan for digital markets
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 10 March 2021, the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum ("DRCF") published its first annual plan of work for 2021/22. The plan of work establishes a road map for how the Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA"), the Office of Communications ("Ofcom") and the Information Commissioner’s (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority sets out its key policy priorities for 2021
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Macfarlanes (Brussels)
On 10 March 2021, the Belgian Competition Authority (“BCA”) published its Priority Policy Note for the year ahead (available in French and Dutch). Impact of COVID-19 The BCA acknowledges that 2021 will be a year of recovery following the negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Belgian (...)

The EU Commission opens a public consultation on the application of competition law to collective bargaining agreements for the self-employed
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
Over the past years, the EU institutions have shown quite some attention to the position of workers in the so-called gig or peer economy, despite the limited legislative authority of the EU in the area of social policy. As early as 2016, the European Parliament called the EU Commission for (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its annual list of compliance and enforcement priorities during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
,
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 23 February 2021, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) released its compliance and enforcement priorities for 2021. These priorities provide guidance to industries and businesses regarding those areas which will be a key focus for the ACCC’s enforcement activities in the (...)

The UK Parliament publishes proposals for a radical overhaul of the national competition regime following Brexit
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
On 16 February, John Penrose MP published his long-awaited report into the UK’s competition regime. Penrose was tasked by the UK Government with reviewing how the UK’s competition regime can: Play a central role in meeting the challenges of the post COVID-19 economy and in driving recovery. The (...)

The UK Parliament publishes an independent report on the state of national competition law
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Gunnercooke (London)
On 16 February 2021, John Penrose MP published an independent report on improving competition and consumer protection in the UK (the Report). It finds that the UK’s competition and consumer regime “has a good reputation, but not a great one”; progress on “cutting the costs of red tape” has stalled; (...)

The UK Competition Authority and the EU Commission seek views from stakeholders on the Vertical Block Exemption Regulation
Bird & Bird (London)
The current Vertical Agreement Block Exemption Regulation (VBER) and its accompanying guidelines provide the framework of competition law regulation for suppliers and distributors across the EU. It is due to expire in May 2022. The VBER was retained into UK law following Brexit ensuring (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes an updated version of its Digital Markets Strategy
Ashurst (London)
,
Ashurst (London)
On 9 February 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") published a ’refresh’ of its Digital Markets Strategy, which was first published in July 2019. The updated strategy takes into account recent policy developments, including the forthcoming launch of the Digital Markets Unit (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority publishes a study regarding competition risks in relation to paid ranking
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
On 2 February 2021, the Dutch Authority of Consumers and Markets (“ACM”) published a study on paid ranking. Paid ranking is a practice whereby businesses pay online platforms for a better position in search results. The ACM found that paid ranking creates risks for consumers and may even restrict (...)

The Swedish Competition Authority publishes a report which covers the increasing influence of digital platforms within the field of competition law
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
,
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
In February 2021 the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”) published a report which covers the increasing influence of digital platforms within the field of competition law. Themes of the report In its report, the SCA has analysed five markets along with the SCA´s previous decisional practice (...)

The German Parliament enters into force its 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition bringing significant adjustments regarding advancing digitalization, changes in merger control, as well as data access claims
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
,
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
On January 19, 2021, the amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition ("ARC") has entered into force. In addition to the significant adjustments to the ARC regarding advancing digitalization, changes in merger control as well as data access claims, to pick out just a few of the (...)

The German Parliament publishes its 10th Amendment to the Act against Restraint of Competition, introducing a new regulatory framework for access to commercial data under antitrust law
Hogan Lovells (Hamburg)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
"The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data" (The Economist, 6.5.2017). This catchy (albeit not quite accurate) comparison is likely to take the leading position among modern digital markets truisms. It is therefore hardly surprising that the German legislator has been (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes new research on algorithms showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA lifts the lid on impact of algorithms* The CMA has published new research on algorithms, showing how they can reduce competition in digital markets and harm consumers if they are misused. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is now seeking evidence from academics and industry (...)

The German Parliament enters into force antitrust rules under the 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition introducing several significant changes
McDermott Will & Emery (Dusseldorf)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Dusseldorf)
New German Antitrust Rules: A Positive Move for Compliance Programs* What has changed? On January 19, 2021, new German antitrust rules entered into force under the 10th amendment Act to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC) and introduced a number of significant changes. The Act, (...)

The German Parliament adopts antitrust rules to tackle digital markets
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
Earlier this year, on 19 January 2021, the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC, Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, GWB) was adopted. The law now contains a new regime complementing the competition rules governing the abuse of a market dominant position (...)

The German Parliament enters into force its 10th amendment of the act against restraints of competition bringing powers for intervention in digital markets and changing the merger control regime
Covington & Burling (Frankfurt)
,
Seat (Weiterstadt)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 19 January 2021, the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”), the so-called ARC Digitisation Act (the “ARC-DA”) entered into force. The ARC-DA brings far-reaching amendments to German competition law, containing inter alia the introduction of a new framework to (...)

The German Parliament adopts competition rules for tech platforms
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
,
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
In Short The Development: The Bundestag, the German legislature, amended Germany’s antitrust laws to include special competition rules for digital platform "companies with overwhelming importance for competition across multiple markets." The amendments, known as the GWB Digitization Act or ARC (...)

The German Parliament releases amendments to its Act against restraints of competition
Ashurst (Frankfurt)
,
Ashurst (Munich)
On 19 January 2021, a major amendment to the German Act Against Restraints of Competition (Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen, "GWB") – the so-called "GWB Digitisation Act – entered into force. The amendment pursues two major objectives: to create a regulatory framework for competition in the (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a paper on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Morgan Lewis (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) published a paper on 19 January on the impact of algorithms on competition in digital markets and consumer welfare. The CMA followed up its paper with a call for evidence from market participants, academics, and industry experts, and with a (...)

The German Parliament passes the 10th amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 January 2021, the 10th Amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition (“ARC”) entered into force. The 10th Amendment, also referred to as the “Digitalisation Act”, introduces significant changes to German Competition Law. A previous issue of this newsletter (VBB on Competition (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes report into algorithms and their harm on consumers and competition law
Bird & Bird (London)
,
Bird & Bird (London)
The impact algorithms continue to have on market dynamics has been under scrutiny by competition authorities around the world in recent years. On 19 January 2021, the CMA published a report, following its investigation into algorithms and their potential harms on competition law. The paper (...)

The EU General Court registers a complaint by a major digital platform against the Commission for allowing a parallel investigation by the Italian Competition Authority to continue while there is already an ongoing European Economic Area investigation (Amazon)
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
This article has been nominated for the 2022 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. 1. The revolution of digital platforms Digital platforms have burst onto the market in recent years. There is no doubt that their ability to offer a large (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority announces its decision to launch a fully-fledged investigation against two Big Tech companies (Facebook / WhatsApp)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
Introduction The Competition Board recently announced its decision to launch a fully fledged investigation, ex officio, against Facebook Inc, Facebook Ireland Ltd, WhatsApp Inc and WhatsApp LLC (together, ’Facebook’) in order to assess whether they had violated Article 6 of Law 4054 on the (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee indicts 2 individuals and 4 companies for price fixing DVDs and Blu-Ray discs sold on an e-commerce platform (Victor Btesh / Bruce Fish / BDF / Michelle’s DVD Funhouse)
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
Two Individuals and Four Companies Indicted for Price Fixing DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs Sold on the Amazon Marketplace* A federal grand jury in Knoxville, Tennessee, returned an indictment charging two individuals and four companies with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of DVDs and (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates Big Tech companies over advertising tech concerns (Google / Meta)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA investigates Google and Meta over ad tech concerns* The CMA is taking a closer look at Google and Meta’s conduct over concerns that they hampered competition in markets for online display advertising services. CMA and European Commission launch parallel probes into Google and Meta’s “Jedi (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Big Tech companies in online display advertising (Google / Meta)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google and Meta, in online display advertising* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether an agreement between Google and Meta (formerly Facebook) for online display (...)

The US DoJ announces from its ongoing investigation that 3 more sellers from a major online retail platform plead guilty to price fixing DVDs and Blu-ray discs (Morris Sutton / Emmanuel Hourizadeh / Raymond Nouvahian / Amazon Marketplace)
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
Three Amazon Marketplace Sellers Plead Guilty to Price Fixing DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs in Ongoing Investigation* A New Jersey man and two New York men pleaded guilty yesterday to fixing the prices of DVDs and Blu-Ray Discs sold on the Amazon Marketplace. According to court documents filed in (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority orders a Big Tech company to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its app store that forbids dating app providers to choose freely a payment system for purchases made in the apps by consumers (Apple)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM obliges Apple to adjust unreasonable conditions for its App Store* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has ordered Apple to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its App Store that apply to dating-app providers. Dating-app providers are currently not able to choose (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €10M on four e-commerce businesses for implementing unfair commercial practices during the COVID-19 outbreak (Unieuro / Mediaworld / Leroy Merlin / Monclick) Free
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: total fines of more than 10 million Euro imposed on Unieuro, Mediaworld, Leroy Merlin and Monclick* The four companies implemented unfair commercial practices in their e-commerce businesses The Italian Competition Authority has closed three proceedings initiated against Unieuro S.p.A. (...)

The UK Competition Authority provisionally finds that a lighting equipment manufacturer has violated competition law by preventing retailers from offering discounts online (Dar Lighting)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA provisionally finds lighting firm illegally banned discounts* The CMA has provisionally found that Dar Lighting Limited has broken competition law by preventing retailers from offering discounts online. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has issued a Statement of Objections to (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €1.5M on several companies for imposing minimum commissions in the real estate brokerage market (Anaconda / Idealista / Inmovilla / Look & Find / MLS / Remax / Witei)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC fines several companies EUR 1.25 million for imposing minimum commissions in the real estate brokerage market.* The companies fined set up a multiple listing service (MLS) in Spain, through which they imposed minimum brokerage commissions. Membership in the system generally required a (...)

The Italian Competition Authority closes with a commitment decision an investigation into a resale price maintenance arrangement affecting the market for nutritional supplements (Sofar / Fornitura Integratori Alimentari)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By its decision recently rendered in the Sofar/Fornitura Integratori Alimentari case the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) considered the lawfulness of the conducts of a supplier imposing minimum resale prices for the probiotic nutritional supplements. Pursuant to Article 14-ter of the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines two Big Tech companies €10M for commercial use of user data (Google / Apple)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: $20 million sanctions against Google and Apple for commercial use of user data* The Authority has found two violations of the Consumer Code, one for information deficiencies and another for aggressive practices regarding the acquisition and use of consumer data The Italian Competition (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €203M on two Big Tech companies for discriminatorily selecting re-sellers of one company’s products on the other company’s e-commerce platform (Apple / Beats)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 16 November 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of € 68.7 million on Amazon and € 134.5 million on Apple for infringing Article 101 Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”) with regard to the distribution of Apple products over Amazon Marketplace (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces that a national radio association can collectively bargain with 2 Big Tech companies about payments for using radio station’s news content on the digital platforms (Commercial Radio Australia / Google / Facebook)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Commercial Radio Australia to collectively bargain with Google and Facebook* Commercial Radio Australia (CRA) can collectively negotiate with Facebook and Google over payment for their member stations’ news content featured on the platforms following an ACCC authorisation. The ACCC’s final (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several players in the road freight transport sector €500K for boycotting digital intermediation platforms (H2P / Astre / Tred Union / Evolutrans...)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence fines several players in the road freight transport sector for boycotting digital intermediation platforms* Background The Autorité opened an investigation following a referral from the Ministry of Economy and Finance (DGCCRF), followed by dawn raids in 2018. (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority authorizes a company to engage in resale price maintenance to its proposed online stores and marketplaces (HP)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commerce Commission issues determination on HP New Zealand’s application to engage in resale price maintenance* The Commerce Commission has authorized HP New Zealand Limited (HP) to engage in resale price maintenance (RPM) in relation to its proposed HP online stores and HP online marketplace (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority decides its first case based on the new settlement procedure on anticompetitive agreements (Philips / Dünya / Meli̇sa / Ni̇tset / Gi̇pa)
Boğaziçi University (Istanbul)
Introduction The implementation of the settlement mechanism by the Turkish Competition Authority (“TCA”) is becoming more and more common every day ever since the Regulation on the Settlement Procedure for Investigations on Anticompetitive Agreements, Concerted Practices, Decisions and Abuse of (...)

The Australian Competition Authority authorises a national press union to collectively bargain with two Big Tech companies (Country Press Australia / Google / Facebook)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Country Press Australia can collectively bargain with Google and Facebook* The ACCC has authorised Country Press Australia (CPA) and its members to collectively negotiate with Google and Facebook about payments for their news content published on the platforms. CPA is an industry body (...)

The US DoJ announces that an online retail platform seller pleaded guilty to price fixing DVDs and Blu-ray discs (David Camp)
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
Amazon Marketplace Seller Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing DVDs and Blu-ray Discs* A Tennessee man pleaded guilty today to fixing the prices of DVDs and Blu-ray Discs sold on Amazon Marketplace. According to court documents filed in Knoxville, David Camp was charged with conspiring with others (...)

The Polish Competition Authority initiates a preliminary investigation into whether a manufacturer of cleaning products has been imposing minimum resale prices on distributors of professional cleaning equipment and systems on the Internet (Kärcher)
Polish Competition Authority (Warsaw)
Overpriced Kärcher equipment?* Have Kärcher products been overpriced for many years? President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection Tomasz Chróstny initiated a preliminary investigation into the matter, while Office employees conducted a search at the premises of Kärcher. The (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority files proceedings seeking declarations that a consumer loan provider engaged in cartel conduct relating to online advertising (Moola / Google Ads)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission seeking declarations that agreements not to bid on Google Ads breach Commerce Act* The Commerce Commission has filed proceedings at the High Court in Christchurch seeking declarations that consumer loan provider Moola engaged in cartel conduct relating to online advertising on (...)

The French Competition Authority fines several eyewear brands and manufacturers for imposing selling prices and restrictions on online sales (Luxottica / LVMH / Chanel / Logo)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Several eyewear brands and manufacturers fined for imposing selling prices and restrictions on online sales* The Autorité fines several eyewear brands and manufacturers, including the leading global and European supplier, for imposing selling prices on opticians and prohibiting them from (...)

The Danish Competition Authority fines an accounting services platform for price fixing (Ageras)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Digital platform pays a fine of DKK 1.275.000 for violating the Danish Competition Act* Ageras A/S has entered into a settlement and accepted to pay a fine of DKK 1.275.000 for infringing the Danish Competition Act by using a price standardization mechanism and setting minimum prices on the (...)

The French Competition Authority indicates dawn raids have been carried out in the collection and use of pharmacy data sector
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Dawn raids in the collection and use of pharmacy data sector* The General Rapporteur of the Autorité de la concurrence indicates that unannounced inspections have been carried out in the collection and use of pharmacy data sector. Following authorisation from the liberty and custody judge, the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority initiates disciplinary proceedings against two Big Tech companies for restricting competition (Apple / Amazon)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC initiates disciplinary proceedings against Apple and Amazon for possible restrictive competition practices* Both groups could have agreed to trade restrictions on the Amazon website in Spain. They would affect the retail sale of Apple products by third parties and the advertising of (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates two Big Tech companies for an alleged anticompetitive agreement affecting markets for the online sale of electronic products and for the provision of marketing services to third party retailers through online platforms (Apple / Amazon)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
This month, the Spanish Competition Authority (“CNMC”) has opened formal proceedings against Amazon and Apple for their alleged participation in a conduct prohibited by Articles 1 of the Spanish Competition Act and 101 of the TFEU related to the sale of Apple products in Amazon’s marketplace. (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority continues to investigate a Big tech company’s online store (Apple App Store)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM can continue its investigation into the Apple App Store* The investigation of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) into Apple’s App Store complements the investigations of the European Commission into the App Store. All of these investigations can be conducted next to (...)

The Indian Karnataka High Court dismisses petitions by 2 major online retailers challenging the probe ordered by the Competition Authority against them for alleged violations of Competition Law (Amazon / Flipkart)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Amazon and Flipkart lose (first) battle against Antitrust probe -Karnataka High Court dismisses the writ petition against CCI prima facie order* So, is it the beginning of the end of the Amazon (and Flipkart’s) combined market dominance or, at least, their allegedly vertical anti-competitive (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by a Big Tech company in the online classified ads sector (Facebook Marketplace)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct of Facebook* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Facebook violated EU competition rules by using advertising data gathered in particular from advertisers in order (...)

The German Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a Big Tech company to examine its new method of displaying external publisher’s news content (Google News Showcase)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt examines Google News Showcase* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against Alphabet Inc., Mountain View, USA, and its affiliates (“Google”) to examine under competition law the Google News Showcase service offered by the company. The examination is mainly based on (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice finds narrow price parity clauses anticompetitive (Booking.com)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 18 May 2021, the German Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) overturned the ruling of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf concerning the use of (so-called) ‘narrow’ price parity clauses by Booking.com (“Booking”). These clauses, which were included in contracts concluded between Booking and hotels (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rules that an online hotel booking platform’s “narrow” best price clause violates antitrust law (Booking.com)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
,
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
On May 18, 2021, the Federal Court of Justice (“FCJ”) ruled that Booking.com’s “narrow” best price clause violates Article 101 (1) TFEU (the cartel prohibition) as well. Thereby the FCJ overruled the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf which held that “narrow” best price clauses were not (...)

The Russian Competition Authority initiates an investigation against a national search engine platform (Yandex)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
The FAS Russia has initiated case against Yandex* The company has not fulfilled the warning of the FAS Russia on termination of discriminatory conditions in the market of web search On February 20, 2021 the FAS Russia issued a warning to Yandex LLC, according to which the organization had a (...)

The Danish Competition Authority and other competition authorities publish a joint memorandum on online pharmacy markets in the Nordic countries
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Nordic Competition Authorities: Online pharmacies can increase competition in the pharmacy sector* The Nordic Competition Authorities have 14.4.2021 published a joint memorandum on online pharmacy markets in the Nordics. The memorandum finds that the size and regulation of online pharmacy (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation and Shanghai SAMR issue two administrative decisions punishing two Internet platform companies for engaging in “either-or choice” practices on their in-platform merchants (Alibaba / Shanghai Food Paishi Trade Development)
King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
,
Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC (New York)
,
King & Wood Mallesons (Beijing)
A few days ago, the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) and Shanghai Administration for Market Regulation (“Shanghai AMR”) successively issued two administrative decisions punishing two Internet platform companies for engaging in “either-or choice” practices (a type of exclusive (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates a Big Tech company over suspected anti-competitive behaviour (Apple App Store)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA investigates Apple over suspected anti-competitive behaviour* The CMA has launched an investigation into Apple following complaints that its terms and conditions for app developers are unfair and anti-competitive. In addition to designing, manufacturing and marketing electronic devices (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority concludes its investigation of an online travel agency and fines the company and two directors $5.8 million in total for drip pricing (FlightHub)
Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law (Ottawa)
INTRODUCTION Canada’s Competition Bureau (‘Bureau’), which assists the Commissioner of Competition (‘Commissioner’) in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (‘Act’), announced on 24 February 2021 that the Commissioner had clipped the wings of Montreal-based FlightHub Group Inc. (...)

The Munich Regional Court bans the preferential display within a search engine of information exclusively drawn from a state-run health portal (Google / German Ministry of Health)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
On February 10th, 2021, the antitrust chamber of the German Regional Court of Munich granted two summary judgments in favor of the health portal NetDoktor, banning the preferential display within Google search results pages of boxes with information exclusively drawn from a state-run health (...)

The Munich Regional Court issues two preliminary injunctions regarding a cooperation agreement that has the effect of restricting competition on the market for health portals (Google / German Ministry of Health)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021, the Regional Court of Munich I (the “Court”) issued two preliminary injunctions against Google Ireland Ltd. (“Google”) and the Federal Republic of Germany, represented by the German Federal Ministry of Health (“the Ministry”), at the request of health platform NetDoktor.de (...)

The Munich Regional Court grants an injunction regarding an internet search cooperation between the Government and a Big Tech company as it constitutes a restriction on competition (Google / German Ministry of Health)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Dusseldorf)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
The Munich Regional Court has granted an injunction based on Article 101 TFEU against an arrangement between Google and the German Ministry of Health . The Ministry operates a national online platform (“Gesund.bund.de”) providing information on health, including a short description of common (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority releases two reports on the positive and negative effects of algorithms on competition
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Continuous development of algorithms requires ensuring the functioning of competition and the interests of consumers* Algorithms may have both positive and negative effects on competition and consumers. Two reports by the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) show that the current (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority concludes after its investigation that sponsored rankings entail risks for both competitors and consumers
Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
,
Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
,
Loyens & Loeff (Amsterdam)
Dutch Authority for Consumers & Markets investigates sponsored rankings* On 2 February 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Competition & Markets (the ‘ACM’) published a study on sponsored internet ranking and its effects on competition and consumer welfare. Sponsored ranking means that (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases an interim report addressing the lack of competition and transparency in the digital advertising technology market
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Lack of competition in ad tech affecting publishers, advertisers and consumers* A lack of competition and transparency in the digital advertising technology supply chain is impacting publishers, advertisers and consumers and needs to be addressed, according to the interim report for the ACCC’s (...)

The French Competition Authority approves a building games company’s price discount system subject to conditions (Lego)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Lego makes commitments to the Autorité de la concurrence to amend its price discount system* Following an open procedure before the Autorité de la concurrence, the building games company Lego France, a subsidiary of Lego Group, enters into commitments designed to facilitate access for all of its (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts a building games company’s commitments to correct price discrimination against online retailers (Lego)
University Paris Saclay
While the rules on price discrimination lack clarity, the French competition Authority has missed the opportunity to do its part. In order to compensate for the price increase of its products, the Lego France company created a discount scheme for the benefit of its resellers. The discount (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts a price discount system for commitments intended to protect pure players (Lego)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) accepted the commitments offered by Lego France (“Lego”) after an investigation into the alleged bias towards brick-and-mortar stores resulting from Lego’s functional discount scheme. In order to resolve the case, the toy manufacturer (...)

The EU Commission imposes fines totalling €7.9M on a digital distribution company and 5 publishers for geo-blocking (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
On 20 January 2021, the EC fined Valve Corporation and five publishers, Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax, a total of EUR 7.9 million for breaching antitrust rules by partitioning the EEA market. Background Valve, together with the five publishers, restricted (...)

The EU Commission fines a PC gaming platform and its publishers for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On January 20, 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) fined Valve and PC video games publishers €7.8 million for restricting cross-border sales of PC video games within the EEA. Video games publishers requested Valve, owner of the PC video gaming platform Steam, to provide geo-blocked (...)

The EU Commission fines a PC gaming platform operator and five video game publishers €7.8 million for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 January 2021, the European Commission (the “Commission”) announced that it had fined the US company Valve, owner of the popular online PC gaming platform “Steam” (“Steam”), and five publishers of video games (Capcom, Bandai Namco, Koch Media, Focus Home Interactive and ZeniMax Media) a total of (...)

The EU Commission fines the owner of an online PC gaming platform and five publishers for entering into “geo-blocking” practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Valve and five publishers of PC video games € 7.8 million for “geo-blocking” practices* The European Commission has fined Valve, owner of the online PC gaming platform “Steam”, and the five publishers Bandai Namco, Capcom, Focus Home, Koch Media and ZeniMax € 7.8 million (...)

The EU Commission fines six video games manufacturers €7.8 million for geo-blocking practices (Valve / Bandai Namco / Capcom / Focus Home / Koch Media / ZeniMax)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
Over the course of less than two months, in late 2020 and early 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) and the European Commission (Commission) issued two decisions with diametrically opposed effects on the licensing and business model of copyrighted content across the EEA. (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal finds a significant imbalance in the long-term contractual relationship of the French incumbent parcel delivery operator and one of its clients (La Poste / Central Optics)
University Paris Saclay
,
University Paris Saclay
,
University Paris Saclay
Introduction In its ruling of the 7th January 2021, the Paris Court of Appeal applied the concept of "significant imbalance" in its anterior version now contained in Article L442-1 of the french commercial code. The notion of significant imbalance originates in consumer law and was extended to (...)

The EU Commission seeks feedback on competition rules on collective bargaining agreements for self-employed individuals
European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (Vienna)
On 6 January 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) launched an inception impact assessment on an initiative that seeks to clarify the applicability of EU competition rules to collective bargaining agreements involving “solo” self-employed individuals. The initiative stems from several (...)

The EU Commission publishes an assessment and seeks feedback on its initiative to define the application of EU competition law to collective bargaining agreements for self-employed workers
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
Hogan Lovells (London)
,
King & Spalding (Brussels)
On 6 January 2021, the European Commission published an "Inception Impact Assessment" seeking feedback on an initiative aimed at defining EU competition law’s scope of application to "self-employed" workers (in advance of an open public consultation anticipated for spring 2021). This is part of (...)

Unilateral Practices

The UK Competition Authority probes a Big Tech company over potential abuse of dominance in ad tech (Google)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Google probed over potential abuse of dominance in ad tech* The CMA is investigating whether Google has broken the law by restricting competition in the digital advertising technology market. CMA launches second investigation into Google’s practices in ad tech, following launch of probe into (...)

The German Competition Authority finds a Big Tech company to be of paramount significance to competition across markets and determines new rules can be applied to control for abuse of dominance (Meta)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
New rules apply to Meta (formerly Facebook) – Bundeskartellamt determines its “paramount significance for competition across markets”* The Bundeskartellamt has formally determined the paramount significance for competition across markets of Meta Platforms, Inc., Menlo Park, USA. The toolkit for (...)

The EU Commission preliminarily finds an abuse of dominance by a Big Tech firm based on denying access to essential hardware that would allow other apps to compete with its payment feature (Apple Pay)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple over practices regarding Apple Pay* The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it abused its dominant position in markets for mobile wallets on iOS devices. By limiting access to a standard technology (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority assesses the adjusted proposal of a Big Tech company regarding its conditions for dating apps (Apple)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM to assess adjusted proposal of Apple regarding its conditions for dating apps* On Sunday, March 27, Apple adjusted its proposal concerning compliance with the requirements set by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) under Dutch and European competition rules. ACM (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a lighting supplier £1.5 million for breaking competition law by restricting the level of discounts retailers could offer online (Dar Lighting)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Dar Lighting fined after ignoring warnings on restricting discounts* The CMA has fined Dar Lighting Ltd £1.5 million for breaking competition law by restricting the level of discounts retailers could offer online. The lighting supplier failed to take sufficient action after 2 written warnings (...)

The Australian Competition Authority takes action against alleged misleading conduct by a Big Tech company for publishing crypto ads on social media (Meta)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC takes action over alleged misleading conduct by Meta for publishing scam celebrity crypto ads on Facebook* The ACCC has instituted Federal Court proceedings against Facebook owner Meta Platforms, Inc. and Meta Platforms Ireland Limited (together: Meta) alleging that they engaged in (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal rules that a Big Tech firm did not abruptly terminate a contract with an advertising partner because the termination was objectively justified and a legitimate exercise of commercial freedom (Ulysse / Google)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
On March 11, 2022, the Paris Court of Appeals overturned in its entirety a May 31, 2019 judgment of the Paris Commercial Court, which had ordered Google to compensate an advertiser, Ulysse Service (’Ulysse’), for the abrupt termination of established commercial relationships. In this case, the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority finds that the revised conditions imposed by a Big Tech on dating-app providers are unreasonable and creates barriers to entry (Apple)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
ACM: Developing a new app is an unnecessary and unreasonable condition that Apple imposes on dating-app providers* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets has concluded that the revised conditions that Apple has imposed on dating-app providers are unreasonable, and create an (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts a Big Tech company’s commitments in its treatment of third-party cookies (Google Privacy Sandbox)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 11 February 2022, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) issued its decision to accept the commitments offered by Google in relation to its Privacy Sandbox proposals (“the Decision”). The Decision is noteworthy in several respects. First, it highlights the complicated tradeoffs (...)

The UK Competition Authority accepts a Big Tech company’s revised offer of commitments relating to its proposed removal of third-party cookies from a browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA to keep ‘close eye’ on Google as it secures final Privacy Sandbox commitments* The CMA has accepted a revised offer from Google of commitments relating to its proposed removal of third-party cookies from the Chrome browser (known as the Privacy Sandbox proposals). The CMA has secured (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes periodic penalties on a Big Tech company for non-compliance with its earlier decision finding abuse of dominance against developers of dating apps by limiting their choice of a payment system (Apple)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 January 2022, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (“ACM”) decided to impose periodic penalties on Apple for its failure to comply with a decision of 24 August 2021 requiring Apple to change its App Store payment rules. In that decision, the ACM found that Apple had abused its (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit hears an appeal brought by 48 State Attorney Generals against a ruling by a District Court in a Big Tech refusal to deal case (Meta)
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
Application of the Proper ‘Outer Boundary’ of Antitrust Liability for Alleged Refusals to Deal in New York v Facebook* Introduction The States brought an antitrust complaint against Facebook alleging that various conduct violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act. The ICLE brief addresses the (...)

The German Competition Authority holds consultations on a Big Tech company’s proposals for dispelling competition concerns in the press sector (Google News Showcase)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Google News Showcase – Bundeskartellamt holds consultations on Google’s proposals for dispelling competition concerns* Google has proposed measures to dispel the Bundeskartellamt’s competition concerns in the authority’s ongoing proceeding to examine the Google News Showcase online service. The (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation into a Big Tech firm for allegedly abusing its dominant position by forcing certain practices on digital publishers (Google / Digital News Publishers Association)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS In a well-functioning democracy, the critical role played by news media cannot be undermined, and it needs to be ensured that digital gatekeeper firms, such as Google, do not abuse their dominant position to harm the competitive process of determining a fair distribution of revenue (...)

The German Competition Authority determines that a Big Tech company is of paramount significance for competition across markets (Google / Alphabet)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release of 5 January 2022, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has decided that Alphabet Inc., including its subsidiary Google (“Google”), is of paramount significance for competition across markets pursuant to Section 19a of the German Act against Restraints of (...)

The German Competition Authority announces that the world’s biggest search engine and its holding company are subject to an extended abuse control by the Authority (Google / Alphabet)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Alphabet/Google subject to new abuse control applicable to large digital companies – Bundeskartellamt determines “paramount significance across markets”* The Bundeskartellamt has delivered its decision that Alphabet Inc., Mountain View, USA, and therefore also its subsidiary Google, is subject to (...)

The Indian Competition Authority initiates probe into a Big Tech firm for potential abuse of dominance in the app store market (Apple / Together We Fight Society)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Unlike traditional ‘single-brand’ markets or aftermarkets, the present digital ecosystems including app stores operate as a platform connecting two or multiple different sets of market participants, such as, app developers and users. The multisided nature of this market needs to be (...)

The German Competition Authority designates a parent company of a Big Tech company as an undertaking of paramount significance for competition across markets (Google / Alphabet)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
,
Hausfeld (Berlin)
On 30 December 2021, the German Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office, “FCO”) designated Alphabet Inc., parent company of Google, (“Google”) as an ‘undertaking of paramount significance for competition across markets’. The FCO is now considering whether to prohibit particular anti-competitive (...)

The Rotterdam District Court largely denies a Big Tech company’s requests to block the Dutch Competition Authority’s publication of decision and fines in abuse of dominance case against dating-app developers (Apple)
Hausfeld (Amsterdam)
,
Hausfeld (Amsterdam)
In a decision of 24 August 2021, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (the ACM) ordered Apple to adjust the unreasonable conditions in its Apple App Store (the “App Store”) that apply to dating-app developers. A summary decision was not published until 24 December 2021 after Apple (...)

The French Competition Authority submits for public consultation the proposed commitments of a major Big Tech company (Google)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Google proposes commitments as part of the investigation into the merits of the related rights case. The Autorité submits them for public consultation* Background Following on from the interim procedure that led to the adoption of interim measures in April 2020, the Autorité continued its (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a market study interim report and finds two Big Tech companies have leveraged their market power to create largely self-contained mobile ecosystems leading to a duopoly that limits competition and choice over operating systems, app stores, and web browsers (Apple / Google)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Apple and Google duopoly limits competition and choice* The CMA’s interim report into mobile ecosystems suggests that users are losing out because of Apple and Google’s duopoly. Earlier this year, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launched a probe over concerns that Apple and Google (...)

The UK Competition Authority publishes a market study accusing two Big Tech companies of creating a duopoly in the market for mobile devices (Apple / Google)
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
Mobile devices, and the ecosystem of products, content, and services associated with them, are already central to our lives. The fundamental importance of these ecosystems, which are international in scope, is only set to increase, as the network of connected products and services extends into (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a record fine of over €1 billion as well as behavioral remedies on an e-commerce company for abusing its dominant position through engaging in discriminatory practices and denying third-party sellers access to certain sales prospects crucial to increasing their visibility on its website (Amazon)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
,
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
The case concerned a number of companies within the Amazon group (hereafter “Amazon”), including: a) Amazon Europe Core S.r.l., with legal domicile in Luxembourg, which is the company of the Amazon group responsible for the management of the websites of Amazon’s European marketplaces and owner of (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes record-breaking fine of € 1.1 billion on an e-commerce company for “self-preferencing” its own logistical services (Amazon)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Toyota
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 9 December 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) adopted a decision finding that the Amazon group (“Amazon”) had violated Article 102 TFEU and harmed competing providers of e-commerce logistics services by tying the right of retailers on the Amazon marketplace to participate in (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes behavioral remedies and fines an e-commerce company over € 1.128 billion for abusing its dominant position in the market for e-commerce logistics services (Amazon)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
A528 - Italian Competition Authority: Amazon fined over € 1,128 billion for abusing its dominant position* The Authority found that Amazon harmed its competitors in the market for e-commerce logistics services. The Authority imposed behavioral measures on Amazon that will be subject to review (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €1.128 billion for abuse of dominance by making exclusive advantages for its online marketplace conditional upon the purchase of its logistics services (Amazon)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On December 9, 2021, the Italian competition authority (the “ICA” or “AGCM”) has levied its highest ever administrative fine—€1.128 billion—on Amazon Europe Core S.à r.l., Amazon Services Europe S.à .r.l., Amazon EU S.à r.l., Amazon Italia Services S.r.l., and Amazon Italia Logistica S.r.l. (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues record €1.128B fine against a Big Tech company for merging its platform marketplace and its distribution operations thereby shutting out rival distributors (Amazon)
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
,
European University Institute (Florence)
Early last month, the Italian competition authority issued a record 1.128 billion euro fine against Amazon for abuse of dominance under Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). In its order, the Agenzia Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (AGCM) essentially (...)

The UK Competition Authority secures improved commitments from a Big Tech company on its proposals to remove third-party cookies and other functionalities from its browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA secures improved commitments on Google’s Privacy Sandbox* The CMA has secured improved commitments from Google on its proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. It has been investigating Google’s proposals since the start of the year due to (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds a breach in competition law by a price comparison website that leads to an opt-out collective claim based on the allegation that the website’s conduct led to higher prices of home insurance for consumers (ComparetheMarket)
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
London, 1 November 2021 - An opt-out collective claim on behalf of over 20 million UK consumers of home insurance has been filed today by Home Insurance Consumer Action against the companies behind Comparethemarket.com. The claim follows the Competition and Markets Authority’s finding last year (...)

The EU General Court confirms that “self-preferencing” by a Big Tech company can infringe Article 102 TFEU (Google Shopping)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Toyota
On 10 November 2021, the European General Court (“EGC” or “Court”) delivered its landmark Google Shopping judgment, the first judicial pronouncement on “self-preferencing” as a viable theory of harm under Article 102 TFEU. The EGC fully endorsed the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision that (...)

The EU General Court largely dismisses a Big Tech company’s appeal against the Commission’s decision finding it had abused its dominant position by favoring its own comparison shopping service (Google Shopping)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
The General Court largely dismisses Google’s action against the decision of the Commission finding that Google abused its dominant position by favouring its own comparison shopping service over competing comparison shopping services* The General Court upholds the fine of €2.42 billion imposed on (...)

The EU General Court confirms the Commission’s decision finding a Big Tech company guilty of abuse of dominance by favouring its own comparison shopping service on its general results pages (Google Shopping)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
With its judgment of 10th November 2021, Europe’s General Court did not just dismiss Google’s appeal against the European Commission’s Google Search (Shopping) decision, uphold the fine, tell gatekeepers “don’t be evil,” and remind everyone that Europe ensures equal opportunities. The Court also (...)

The EU General Court upholds a €2.42B fine imposed on a Big Tech company and dismisses an appeal against the Competition Authority’s decision (Google Shopping)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
,
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
The General Court has today dismissed Google’s appeal of the European Commission’s Google Shopping Decision from June 2017 and has upheld the EUR 2.42 billion fine imposed on Google – a record fine at the time. The General Court agreed with the European Commission’s finding (in its vast majority) (...)

The EU General Court confirms Commission’s decision to fine a Big Tech company for abusing its dominant position in online search by discriminating against comparison shopping services to favour its own offering (Google Shopping)
McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
Google’s flagship product is the Google search engine, which provides search results to consumers, who pay for the service with their data. Almost 90% of Google’s revenues stem from adverts, such as those it shows consumers in response to a search query. In 2004, Google entered the separate (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its third digital platform services inquiry interim report and proposes that it be given the power to develop and implement a mandatory search engine choice screen in web browsers (Google)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Benefits from more competition in internet search* Measures addressing Google’s dominance in search engine services, including a choice screen that provides consumers with a selection of search engines, should be introduced in Australia, as set out in the ACCC’s third Digital Platform Services (...)

The Turkish Competition Authority issues interim measures against a leading marketplace platform for its use of algorithms and third party data to achieve self-preferencing (Trendyol)
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
,
ELIG Gürkaynak Attorneys-at-Law (Istanbul)
This case summary includes an analysis of the Turkish Competition Board’s (“Board”) Trendyol Interim Measure decision in which the Board, upon the findings of its preliminary investigation, determined that DSM Grup Danışmanlık İletişim ve Satış Ticaret A.Ş.’s (“Trendyol”) use of algorithms and handling (...)

The Australian Competition Authority publishes a report on advertising technology and identifies significant competition concerns namely due to a Big Tech company’s dominance of the sector (Google)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Google’s dominance in ad tech supply chain harms businesses and consumers* An ACCC inquiry into the advertising technology (or ‘ad tech’) sector has identified significant competition concerns and likely harms to publishers, advertisers, and, ultimately, consumers. The report, published today, (...)

The US district court for the District of Northern California rules that app stores are not a monopoly but prohibits ban on app creators directing consumers to external links (Epic / Apple)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The Judgment of the US Court of the Northern District of California (Court) of 10 September 2021 , Epic v. Apple (Judgment), has concluded that Apple Inc. (Apple) is not a monopolist in light of current US and California antitrust laws. However, what could be seen as a neat victory for Apple is (...)

The Japanese FTC closes the investigation against a Big Tech company for allegedly restricting business activities of digital app developers on its app store after the company agreed to update the store’s guidelines, including on payment methods and app review process (Apple)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
Closing the Investigation on the Suspected Violation of the Antimonopoly Act by Apple Inc.* The Japan Fair Trade Commission (hereinafter referred to as the “JFTC”) has investigated Apple Inc. (hereinafter referred to as “Apple”) in accordance with the provisions of the Antimonopoly Act since (...)

The Russian Competition Authority issues a warning to a Big Tech company after receiving complaints that the company prohibits informing clients about the alternative payment methods in the App Store applications (Apple)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia issued a warning to Apple* The company prohibits informing clients about the alternative payment methods in the App Store applications The FAS Russia received complaints from users of iOS devices and application developers. They note that in some cases it is cheaper to buy a (...)

The Russian Competition Authority imposes a fine on an online travel agency for abusing its dominant position (Booking.com)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia fined Booking.com B.V. by 1.3 Billion Rub* The company abused its dominant position in the Russian market The FAS Russia imposed a turnover fine on Booking.com B.V. (Netherlands) equal to 1.3 billion RUB for abuse of its dominant position in the market. The company operates the (...)

The Australian Competition Authority reiterates the need for additional regulation to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
,
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
ACCC continues its focus on technology and digital platforms The ACCC has reiterated the need for additional regulation to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms. On 19 August 2021, in a speech to the Global Competition Review Webinar about the ACCC’s digital platforms (...)

The Australian Competition Authority announces new rules and regulations regarding the dominance of Big Tech companies on app marketplaces (Google / Apple)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Platforms’ dominance of apps market needs to be addressed* New rules and regulations may be needed in addition to enforcement action by competition regulators worldwide to rectify concerns about the dominance of Apple and Google in app marketplaces, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said today. In a speech (...)

The US FTC files an amended complaint against a social media company alleging it resorted to an illegal buy-or-bury scheme to crush competition after a string of failed attempts to innovate (Facebook)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Alleges Facebook Resorted to Illegal Buy-or-Bury Scheme to Crush Competition After String of Failed Attempts to Innovate* Agency’s amended complaint details how the monopolist survived existential threats by illegally acquiring innovative competitors and burying successful app developers. (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches an investigation into two Big Tech companies’ possible restrictive practices in the internet sales of electronic products (Apple / Amazon)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
On 1 July 2021, the CNMC announced an investigation against Apple and Amazon for possible restrictive practices in the Internet sales of electronic products and the provision of marketing services to third-party retailers through online platforms in Spain. The conduct under investigation (...)

The US District Court for the District of Colombia dismisses a case filed by the FTC against a Big Tech company due to the lack of plausible evidence that the company has monopoly power in the personal social networking services market (Facebook)
Bona Law (Detroit)
,
Bona Law (San Diego)
Facebook Wins First Antitrust Battle: The FTC and State Enforcers Fail to Establish (For Now) Facebook’s Monopoly on Social Media Networks (with update)* In late 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the attorneys-general (AGs) from 48 states filed nearly identical antitrust lawsuits (...)

The US District Court for the District of Columbia grants motions to dismiss two parallel antitrust complaints filed by the FTC and a group of State AGs against a social media company for monopolization, with the FTC being allowed to file an amended complaint in 30 days (Facebook)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (New York)
On June 28, 2021, Judge James E. Boasberg of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted Facebook’s motions to dismiss two parallel antitrust complaints filed by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a group of state enforcers. The complaints accused Facebook of illegally (...)

The Russian Competition Authority decides to add a football club as interested person in an abuse of dominance case against a Big Tech company in the market for video hosting services (Google / YouTube)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS reported involvement of new participant in Google case on YouTube blocking rules* On June 23, the first meeting of the Commission of the FAS Russia in the case of violation of antimonopoly law for abusing dominant market position in YouTube video hosting services took place During the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority opens an investigation into a Big Tech company for abusing its dominance in the market of smart TV operating systems and market for related mobile apps (Google / Xiaomi / TCL)
National Law University Odisha (Cuttack)
,
National Law University Odisha (Cuttack)
In its order dated 22nd June 2021, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) directed an investigation against Google after being prima facie convinced of it abusing its dominance in the market of licensable smart TV device operating systems (OS) as well as the market for app store for Android (...)

The EU Commission opens an investigation into possible abuse of dominance by a Big Tech company in the online advertising technology sector (Google ad tech)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission opens investigation into possible anticompetitive conduct by Google in the online advertising technology sector* The European Commission has opened a formal antitrust investigation to assess whether Google has violated EU competition rules by favouring its own online (...)

The Indian Competition Authority orders an investigation against a Big Tech company for imposing restrictive obligations on smart TV original equipment manufacturers (Google / Xiaomi / TCL)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI directed an investigation against Google for alleged abuses in relation to its TV operating system, Android TV OS. The two Informants in the case alleged that Google had imposed restrictive obligations on smart TV original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in breach of Section 4 of the (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches a market study into two Big Tech companies’ mobile ecosystems over concerns that they might abuse their dominant position (Google / Apple)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA to scrutinise Apple and Google mobile ecosystems* The CMA has launched a market study into Apple’s and Google’s mobile ecosystems over concerns they have market power which is harming users and other businesses. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is taking a closer look at whether (...)

The UK Competition Authority secures commitments from a Big Tech company to address concerns about its proposal to remove third-party cookies on its main internet browser (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA to have key oversight role over Google’s planned removal of third-party cookies* Following an investigation, the CMA has secured commitments from Google to address concerns about Google’s proposal to remove third-party cookies on Chrome. The CMA is to take up a role in the design and (...)

The Russian Competition Authority adds a snack manufacturing company and an e-learning company as interested parties in a case against search engine platform’s abuse of dominance (Yandex)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
New Stakeholders are involved in the consideration of the Yandex search results case* The company abuses of dominant position in the Internet search market and provides preferential conditions to its own services On June 9, 2021, during the meeting in the case, the applicants confirmed the (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts proposed settlement with a Big Tech company regarding online advertising practices and imposes a €220M fine for self-preferencing in the market for online display advertising (Google AdX / Google DoubleClick for Publishers)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
In a decision of 7 June 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) accepted a proposed settlement by Google LLC and Google Ireland Ltd (“Google”) with respect to certain online advertising practices. The decision also imposed a € 220 million fine on Google as it concluded that Google’s (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €220 million for favoring its services in the online advertising sector in a first decision to look into complex algorithmic auctions processes (Google AdX / Google DoubleClick for Publishers)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
The Autorité de la concurrence hands out a €220 millions fine to Google for favouring its own services in the online advertising sector* Google, did not dispute the facts, wished to settle with the Autorité, which granted its request. Google also proposed commitments, accepted by the Autorité, (...)

The French Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €220 million for abuse of a dominant position through self-preferencing in the ad tech industry (Google AdX / Google DoubleClick for Publishers)
Technical University of Applied Sciences Wildau
,
Hausfeld (Berlin)
,
Hausfeld (Berlin)
On 7 June 2021, the French Competition Authority (“FCA”) concluded an investigation into Google’s ad tech business. The FCA (i) found that Google abused a pan-European dominant position and thereby infringed EU competition law by favoring its proprietary display advertising intermediation (...)

The UK Competition Authority investigates a social media company’s use of ad data (Facebook)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA investigates Facebook’s use of ad data* The CMA is investigating whether Facebook might be abusing a dominant position in the social media or digital advertising markets through its collection and use of advertising data. Facebook login on a mobile and laptop screen The Competition and (...)

The French Competition Authority submits commitments for public consultation following an investigation in the online advertising sector (Facebook / Criteo)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
In the context of an investigation opened before the Autorité in the online advertising sector, Facebook proposes commitments* The Autorité de la concurrence is submitting these commitments for public consultation, and is inviting actors from the sector to provide their feedback. The case was (...)

The German Competition Authority uses new rules for large digital players to examine a Big Tech company’s data processing terms (Google)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceeding against Google based on new rules for large digital players (Section 19a GWB) – Bundeskartellamt examines Google’s significance for competition across markets and its data processing terms* The Bundeskartellamt has today initiated two proceedings against Google Germany GmbH, Hamburg, (...)

The German Competition Authority uses new rules for large digital players to examine a Big Tech company’s mobile operating system and app store (Apple)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceeding against Apple based on new rules for large digital companies (Section 19a(1) GWB) – Bundeskartellamt examines Apple’s significance for competition across markets* The Bundeskartellamt has today initiated a proceeding against the technology company Apple based on the new competition (...)

The German Competition Authority uses new rules for large digital players to examine a Big Tech company’s online marketplace and its competition significance across markets (Amazon)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Proceedings against Amazon based on new rules for large digital companies (Section 19a GWB)* The Bundeskartellamt has today initiated a proceeding against Amazon based on the new rules for large digital companies. It is the second proceeding that the Bundeskartellamt has opened based on the (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €100M for abusing its dominant position (Google / Enel X)
Italian Competition Authority (Rome)
ICA: Google fined over 100 million for abuse of dominant position* The Antitrust Authority has ordered Google to include in Android Auto the Enel X app allowing the use of services related to the recharging of electric vehicles. The Italian Competition Authority has imposed a fine of over 100 (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company and imposes behavioral remedies for conduct deemed to constitute an abuse of a dominant position (Google / Enel X)
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 13 May 2021 the Italian Competition Authority ("ICA") published a decision fining and imposing behavioural remedies on Google for conduct deemed to constitute an abuse of a dominant position, by preventing Enel X from developing an app compatible with the Android Auto feature. Key (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company €102M for refusal to interoperate and imposes specific remedies requested by the complainant (Google / Enel X)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On May 13, 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (the “AGCM” or the “ICA”) fined Alphabet Inc., Google LLC, and Google Italy S.r.l. (“Google”) over 100 million EUR for abusing of a dominant position pursuant to Section 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (“TFEU”). In a rare (...)

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority bans a social media company from sharing user data between its subsidiary companies (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
Order of the HmbBfDI: Ban of further processing of WhatsApp user data by Facebook* The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) issued an order prohibiting Facebook Ireland Ltd. from processing personal data from WhatsApp for its own purposes. The order is (...)

The EU Commission sends a statement of objections to a Big Tech company regarding its store rules for music streaming providers (Apple App Store)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission sends Statement of Objections to Apple on App Store rules for music streaming providers* The European Commission has informed Apple of its preliminary view that it distorted competition in the music streaming market as it abused its dominant position for the distribution (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for abusing its dominant position in the distribution of mobile applications on its operating system (Apple)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS Russia fined apple $12 million us dollars* On April 26, 2021, the FAS Russia imposed on Apple Inc. a turnover fine of 906,299,392.16 rubles (over $12 million) for violating antimonopoly legislation. In August 2020, the FAS Russia completed the consideration of the antitrust case against (...)

The Australian Competition Authority releases its second interim report which examines the competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
On 28 April 2021, the ACCC released its second interim report as part of the five-year Digital Platform Services Inquiry, which examines the competition and consumer issues associated with the distribution of mobile apps to users of smartphones and other mobile devices. In this second interim (...)

The Italian Competition Authority imposes a €102 million fine on a Big Tech company for abusing its dominant position by refusing to feature a competitor’s app on its digital platform (Google / Enel X)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 27 April 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (“ICA”) imposed a fine of over € 102 million on Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy S.r.l. (collectively, “Google”) after concluding that Google had infringed Article 102 TFEU by refusing to include in Google’s own Android Auto app a third (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for its refusal to publish an app developed by competitors allowing electric vehicle drivers to search and book an electric charging point while driving (Google / Enel X)
Luiss Guido Carli University (Rome)
On 27 April 2021, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined Google for its refusal to publish an app developed by Enel X Italia (“JuicePass”) on Android Auto allowing electric vehicle drivers to search and book an electric charging point while driving. Android Auto is a specific feature (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for abusively locking a SatNav rival out of their app store (Google / Enel X)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
By a decision handed down in the Google/Enel X case, the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) has fined Alphabet Inc., Google LLC and Google Italy Srl (hereinafter Google) for infringing Article 102 TFEU. Google bused its dominant position because not allowing the release of JuicePass, an app (...)

The Delhi High Court upholds the Competition Authority’s order directing an investigation into the privacy policy rolled out by a Big Tech company (WhatsApp)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Vahura (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Mere pendency of some issues before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India (“Supreme Court”), or any of the High Courts does not necessarily bar CCI from exercising jurisdiction otherwise vested with it under the Act. BRIEF FACTS Whatsapp LLC (“WhatsApp”) is the proprietor of the popular (...)

The Delhi High Court reviews the Competition Authority’s inquiry into a Big Tech company’s data privacy policy (WhatsApp)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Delhi High Court Judgement on CCI Inquiry into WhatsApp’s new data privacy policy in India* While reporting on the initial media news in my earlier blog on the same topic published on 23 April 21 , I had promised to come back with a detailed reporting on the above judgment which was then not (...)

The Russian Competition Authority initiates proceedings against a Big Tech company for abuse of a dominant position in the market for video hosting services (Google / Youtube)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS initiated a case against Google LLC* According to the Authority, the company abuses its dominant position in the market of YouTube video hosting services The reason for the investigation was the application of the Regional Public Organization “Center for Internet Technologies” (ROCIT), (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority rejects the initiation of an infringement procedure against a Big Tech company and clarifies in its decision the criteria under which dominant companies can exclude certain clients from their services (Eurozener / Google)
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
,
CMS Albiñana y Suárez de Lezo (Madrid)
In recent years GOOGLE LLC (GOOGLE) has faced several infringement procedures before EU National Competition Authorities and the European Commission with regards to various claims of anticompetitive behavior in relation to abuse of its dominant position in European markets. Recently, GOOGLE (...)

The Hamburg Data Protection Authority opens proceedings against a social media company to stop sharing user data from its subsidiary company (Facebook / WhatsApp)
Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information
Urgency procedure opened against Facebook in connection with the new WhatsApp terms of use* The Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) opened proceedings against Facebook Ireland Ltd. with the aim of issuing an immediately enforceable order with the (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation fines an online market platform $2.8 billion for abusing its dominant position (Alibaba)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
China’s antitrust penalty for Alibaba: reading between the lines* On 10 April 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China’s competition authority responsible for the enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), announced the imposition of CNY 18 billion fine on Alibaba for (...)

The UK Competition Authority launches the Digital Markets Unit to look into Big Tech firms’ potential anticompetitive practices
Hausfeld (London)
,
Hausfeld (London)
The UK Government has launched the long-awaited Digital Markets Unit (DMU) to “help make sure tech giants such as Facebook and Google cannot exploit their market dominance.” The DMU, based in the Competition Markets Authority (CMA), kicked off its work in shadow, non-statutory form on 7 April (...)

The Indian Competition Authority initiates an investigation into a Big Tech company’s new privacy policy and user agreement that does not let users opt out (WhatsApp)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS CCI is empowered to initiate an investigation into any conduct which may contravene the provisions of the Act if the CCI knows that such conduct is about to be committed. The CCI is obligated to prevent practices from having an adverse effect on competition. BRIEF FACTS CCI (...)

The Dusseldorf Higher Court doubts the compatibility with EU law of the Competition Authority’s approach of linking data protection and competition law to find an abuse of dominance and files a request for a preliminary ruling (Facebook)
Bird & Bird (Dusseldorf)
Is Facebook abusing its dominant position in the market by collecting data on its own platforms and on third-party websites and combining it in a large data pool? The Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) has decided that unless the users consent to the use of the data, Facebook is abusing its position - (...)

The Indian Gujarat High Court grants a stay on the Competition Authority’s interim order to re-list the properties of two hotel companies on several online hotel booking portals (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (Mumbai)
The CCI issued an interim order under Section 33 of the Competition Act directing MakeMy Trip India Pvt. Ltd. (MMT) and Ibibo Group Private Limited (Go-Ibibo) (together MMT-Go) to re-list properties of FabHotels and Treebo on their online hotel booking portals. This order was passed in the (...)

The French Competition Authority rejects the implementation of interim measures but continues to investigate a Big Tech company’s alleged abuse of a dominant position (Apple)
University Paris-Panthéon-Assas
On 23 October 2020, several associations representing various players of the online advertising sector filed a complaint before the French Competition Authority, alleging that Apple abused its dominance on the application distribution market for IOS devices by imposing on app developers (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants an interim order against online travel agencies alleged to have engaged in anti-competitive practices (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Gujarat National Law University (Gandhinagar)
1. Introduction On 9th March 2021, India’s fair trade regulator, the Competition Commission of India (‘CCI’) granted Interim Relief to the parties seeking it, Treebo and FabHotels. They had been delisted from the platform of India’s most popular Online Travel Agency (‘OTA’), MakeMyTrip (‘MMT-Go’). (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants interim relief, ordering online travel agencies to re-list hotel properties on certain platforms (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS (i) In deciding applications for interim relief under Section 33 of the Act, CCI must form a higher degree of satisfaction than the prima facie requirements under Section 26(1) of the Act. (ii) Denial of market access need not be complete or absolute in nature to result in an (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants interim relief to hotel franchisees in the online travel agency market (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Khaitan (New Delhi)
,
Khaitan (New Delhi)
Although India’s competition law has contained an interim measure provision since inception, two things stood about the Competition Commission’s (“Commission”) usage of interim measures – (i) the overall frequency (or lack) of its usage; and (ii) its limited usage in a low shelf-life Bollywood (...)

The Indian Competition Authority issues an interim behavioral remedy to relist franchise hotel properties on certain platforms before concluding the abuse of dominant position investigation against them (MMT-Go / Treebo / FabHotels)
Economic Laws Practice (New Delhi)
In a first-of-its-kind order, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) has used its power to grant interim relief to applicants in a two-sided digital market. On 9 th March 2021, CCI ordered MMT-Go to relist properties of Treebo and FabHotels on its platform. CCI received information against (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal provides guidance for post-Brexit permission to serve out of the jurisdiction applications and confirms that damages occasioned by anti-competitive conduct will not be narrowly construed (Epic Games / Apple / Google)
Hausfeld (London)
The Tribunal issued its combined permission to serve out of the jurisdiction judgment in Epic Games v Apple (the Apple Claim) and Epic Games v Google (the Google Claim) on 22 February 2021, declining permission for service on Apple Inc. and granting permission for service for a subset of (...)

The Paris Commercial Court imposes a €1.2 million fine on a Big Tech company for abuse of a dominant position against a telephone directory services company (Oxone Technologies / Google)
Addleshaw Goddard (Paris)
In the context of a stand-alone action – which falls under the new provisions resulting from the transposition of the Damages Directive – the Paris Commercial Court ruling at first instance orders Google to pay EUR 1,2 million in damages to Oxone, a telephone directory services company. Oxone (...)

The Paris Commercial Court rules that a Big Tech company should pay €1.27 million in antitrust damages for abuse of its dominant position in the online search advertising market (Oxone Technologies / Google)
Hausfeld (London)
Following a stand-alone claim filed by a directory enquiry services provider, the Paris Commercial Court ruled, on 10 February 2021, that Google holds a dominant position in the online search advertising market through Google Ads and abuses that position by setting up rules which are “neither (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation publishes anti-monopoly guidelines on platform economy
Hong Kong Competition Commission (Hong Kong)
,
University of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Beijing)
On 10 November 2020, the State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”), China’s competition authority, released the Anti-Monopoly Guidelines on the Platform Economy (Draft for Public Opinions Solicitation) (the “Draft”). Around three months later, on 7 February 2021, the Anti-Monopoly (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses allegations of abuse of dominance against a Big Tech company for integrating a video calling app into its email app, because email users were not forced to use the video app (Google Meet)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
KEY POINTS Merely adding more functionality to an internet-based app in the name of product improvement and enhancing benefit to consumers would not amount to leveraging dominance if the users are not compelled to utilize the new features to the exclusion of all other services offering similar (...)

The Indian Competition Authority dismisses a leveraging of dominance allegation against a Big Tech company’s direct messaging and video-conferencing app due to emailing and direct messaging not being part of the same relevant market (Google Meet)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI dismisses allegation of leveraging of dominance for Google Meet Application* The Competition Commission of India (CCI) vide its order dated 29 January 2021 has dismissed an apparently speculative and mischievous information filed by a law student against Google’s alleged leverage of its (...)

The German Competition Authority assesses whether the newly enforced competition law provisions for companies "with paramount significance for competition across markets" can be used in its investigation into a Big Tech company (Oculus / Facebook)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
First proceeding based on new rules for digital companies – Bundeskartellamt also assesses new Section 19a GWB in its Facebook/Oculus case* In December 2020, the Bundeskartellamt initiated abuse proceedings against Facebook due to the linkage between Oculus and the Facebook network (see press (...)

The German Parliament passes the 10th amendment to the Restraints of Competition Act which provides modifications and changes regarding abuse control
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
,
Hogan Lovells (Dusseldorf)
On 14 January 2021, the German parliament passed the long-awaited 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC). This came after the governing parties, CDU/CSU and SPD, had submitted a final amendment "at the eleventh hour" which provided for some additional modifications (...)

The German Parliament passes its 10th amendment to the Competition Act which creates an enforcement tool for the Competition Authority to control the abusive behavior of companies with a paramount cross-market significance for competition
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Dusseldorf)
,
Clifford Chance (Dusseldorf)
New enforcement tool for the German Federal Cartel Office in the control of abusive behavior of companies with a paramount cross-market significance for competition In a nutshell: What’s new? Introduction of the Concept of Intermediation Power: A dominant position can as of now also result from (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority puts an end to the infringement proceedings brought against a Big Tech company for alleged dominance conduct related to a search engine and an online restaurant reservation system prohibited by national antitrust law (Google / El Tenedor)
Bird & Bird (Madrid)
The Spanish Competition authority (“CNMC”) has agreed to put an end to the infringement proceedings brought against Google and El Tenedor in November 2018 for an alleged conduct related to Google’s search engine and Google Maps’ online restaurant reservation system prohibited by Articles 1 and 2 of (...)

The UK Competition Authority opens an investigation into a Big Tech company’s ‘Privacy Sandbox’ browser changes (Google Privacy Sandbox)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA to investigate Google’s ‘Privacy Sandbox’ browser changes* The CMA has opened an investigation into Google’s proposals to remove third party cookies and other functionalities from its Chrome browser. The investigation will assess whether the proposals could cause advertising spend to become (...)

Mergers

The UK Competition Authority finds an acquisition deal between two major cyber security companies could reduce competition in cyber safety software options (Avast / NortonLifeLock)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA finds NortonLifeLock purchase of Avast could reduce competition* The CMA has found that NortonLifeLock’s approximately £6bn purchase of Avast raises competition concerns and may now be referred for an in-depth investigation. NortonLifeLock and Avast both offer cyber safety software to (...)

The EU Commission unconditionally approves the merger between a major US online retail platform with audiovisual content and Hollywood film production company (Amazon / MGM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission approves acquisition of MGM by Amazon* The European Commission has approved unconditionally, under the EU Merger Regulation, the proposed acquisition of MGM Holdings Inc. (‘MGM’) by Amazon.com Inc (‘Amazon’). The Commission concluded that the transaction would raise no (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority clears the merger of 2 online food ordering companies without commitments (Glovo / Delivery Hero)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC approves the acquisition of Glovo by Delivery Hero* Delivery Hero specialises in home food delivery in more than 50 countries. Through its app, Glovo makes it easier for local businesses (restaurants, pharmacies, supermarkets, etc.) to sell their products and make home deliveries. The (...)

The UK Competition Authority imposes its 3 largest fines totalling £56.7M for breaches of initial enforcement orders in connection with 2 mergers in Big Tech and sportswear (JD Sports / Footasylum) (Meta / Giphy)
Ashurst (London)
Within the last six months, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority ("CMA") has issued its three largest fines for breaches of an initial enforcement order ("IEO"). These include fines of GBP 50.5 million and GBP 1.5 million for breaches of an IEO imposed in connection with the completed (...)

The German Competition Authority clears unconditionally but "with unease" the acquisition of a CRM platform by a social media company (Meta / Kustomer)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt clears acquisition of Kustomer by Meta (formerly Facebook)* Meta Platforms Inc., Menlo Park/USA (formerly Facebook, Inc.) has announced that it intends to acquire the company Kustomer Inc. Kustomer is a company based in New York (USA) which offers its business customers a (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company £1.5M for failure to alert the Authority that key members of staff were leaving the company, which was a requirement under an enforcement order (Meta / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA fines Meta a second time for breaching enforcement order* Meta has been fined £1.5m after it failed to alert the CMA in advance of key staff leaving the company, which is required by the CMA’s initial enforcement order. It is standard practice for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (...)

The EU Commission clears the merger between a Big Tech company and a provider of customer service and support CRM software, subject to conditions (Meta / Kustomer)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission clears acquisition of Kustomer by Meta (formerly Facebook), subject to conditions* The European Commission has today approved under the EU Merger Regulation the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Meta (formerly Facebook). The approval is conditional on full compliance with (...)

The EU Commission, along with the German and UK Competition Authorities clears the acquisition of a provider of customer relationship management software by a Big Tech company (Meta / Kustomer)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 27 January 2022, the Commission conditionally cleared Meta’s (formerly Facebook) acquisition of Kustomer, a small, innovative customer relationship manager (“CRM”) software creator. In a parallel process, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) cleared the same transaction with regard to Germany (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal grants permission to a leading digital rights organisation to intervene in the application brought by a Big Tech company regarding a merger decision (Meta / Giphy)
Hausfeld (London)
Global NGO Privacy International, represented by Hausfeld, was granted permission by the Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to intervene in the application brought by Meta Platforms, Inc. (Meta) pursuant to s. 120 of the Enterprise Act 2002 for review of the Competition and Markets Authority (...)

The German and Austrian Competition Authorities publish revised guidance on the interpretation of the transaction value-based thresholds in Austrian and German merger control law
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Berlin)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Vienna)
Shortly before the end of 2021, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority (Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde, BWB) and the German Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt, BKA) published revised guidance on the interpretation of the transaction value-based thresholds in Austrian and German merger control (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority conditionally approves takeover in the online food delivery service market (Glovoappro / Foodpanda)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition council approved with conditions the taking over of Foodpanda Ro by Glovoappro SRL* The Competition Council approved with conditions the transaction through which Glovoappro SRL will take over the Foodpanda Ro SRL and, indirectly, Pandamart, which is operated by Delivery Hero (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between a major US online retail platform with audiovisual content and a Hollywood film production company (Amazon / MGM)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Amazon’s proposed acquisition of MGM not opposed* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of MGM by Amazon, after an investigation that concluded the transaction was unlikely to substantially lessen competition in any market in Australia. Amazon operates a range of businesses in (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that a merger between two one-stop property search service providers could reduce competition (Dye & Durham / TM Group)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Dye & Durham’s purchase of TM Group could reduce competition* The CMA has found that Dye & Durham’s purchase of TM Group raises competition concerns and may now be referred for an in-depth investigation. Dye & Durham and TM Group both provide a one-stop property search service to (...)

The German Competition Authority considers the acquisition of a CRM platform by a social media platform to be subject to merger notification (Meta / Kustomer)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt considers Meta/Kustomer merger to be subject to notification* Meta Platforms Inc., Menlo Park/USA (formerly Facebook, Inc.) has announced that it intends to acquire the company Kustomer Inc. Kustomer is a company based in New York (USA) which offers its business customers a (...)

The Saudi Arabian Competition Authority announces, following the adoption of the new Merger Review Guidelines, that it has blocked its first deal between two online food-delivery services due to their failure to provide sufficient information to enable the evaluation of the proposed acquisition (Delivery Hero / The Chefz)
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Dusseldorf)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Competition (the “GAC”) has been ramping up its merger control activities and recently—at least initially—blocked its first transaction, signaling plans for more active merger enforcement. Although Saudi Arabia’s current merger control regime is (...)

The UK Competition Authority requires a Big Tech company to sell a GIF creation platform it acquired after finding that the deal could harm social media users and national advertisers (Meta / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA directs Facebook to sell Giphy* The CMA requires Facebook (which has recently renamed itself ‘Meta’) to sell Giphy, after finding that the deal could harm social media users and UK advertisers. In line with its Phase 2 provisional findings issued in August, the Competition and Markets (...)

The Australian Competition Authority is not opposed to the proposed acquisition of a plagiarism prevention platform by its competitor (Turnitin / Ouriginal)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC will not oppose Turnitin’s proposed acquisition of Ouriginal* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Ouriginal Group AB (Ouriginal) by Turnitin LLC, via Turnitin UK Ltd. (Turnitin). Turnitin and Ouriginal are international providers of anti-plagiarism software, overlapping (...)

The Australian Competition Authority does not oppose the merger between a Big Tech company and a CRM platform (Meta / Kustomer)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
ACCC will not oppose Meta’s proposed acquisition of Kustomer* The ACCC will not oppose the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc. Kustomer is a small customer relationship management (CRM) software-as-a-service provider based in the USA that focuses on (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority launches a public debate over an online food delivery platform’s proposals to mitigate competition concerns arising from the potential acquisition of German rivals (Glovoappro / Foodpanda / Delivery Hero)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council launches for public debate the commitments proposed by Glovoappro s.r.l. to take over Foodpanda ro s.r.l. and Delivery Hero dmart s.r.l.* The Competition Council launches for public debate the commitments formulated by Glovoappro S.R.L. (“Glovo”) in order to eliminate the (...)

The UK Competition Authority orders a sneaker and apparel retailer to sell one of its companies to preserve competition (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA requires JD Sports to sell Footasylum* The CMA has instructed JD Sports to sell Footasylum after its in-depth investigation identified competition concerns. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the takeover could lead to a substantial reduction in competition and a (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for breaching orders in the context of its acquisition of a GIF provider (Facebook / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA fines Facebook over enforcement order breach* Facebook has been fined £50.5 million for breaching an order imposed by the CMA during its investigation into Facebook’s purchase of Giphy. A mobile phone and laptop both displaying a Facebook log in page It is standard practice to issue an (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company £50.5 million for breaching its initial enforcement order regarding a merger with a GIF provider (Facebook / Giphy)
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
In May 2020, Facebook purchased Giphy, the largest provider of GIFs (a format for image files that supports both animated and static images). Giphy operates an online database and search engine that primarily allows users to search and share GIFs and can be used indirectly on third-party apps, (...)

The UK Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for breaching an order to hold separate an acquisition target pending its review of the merger (Facebook / Giphy)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) fined Facebook £50.5 million for breaching an order to hold separate its acquisition target, Giphy, pending the CMA’s review of the merger. Takeaways The U.K. merger control regime allows acquirers the flexibility to close prior to completion of a (...)

The UK Competition Authority announces its decision to impose a record-breaking fine of £50.5M on a Big Tech company for multiple and serious breaches of an Interim Enforcement Order imposed as part of the Authority’s investigation into the company’s complete acquisition of an online provider of GIFs (Facebook / Giphy)
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 20 October 2021, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) announced its decision to impose a record-breaking fine of £ 50.5 million on Facebook, for multiple (and serious) breaches of an Interim Enforcement Order (“IEO”) imposed as part of the CMA’s investigation into the tech company’s (...)

The UK Competition Authority unconditionally clears the merger between a Big Tech company and a provider of CRM software (Meta / Kustomer)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Anticipated acquisition by Facebook, Inc. of Kustomer, Inc.* Summary of the CMA’s decision on relevant merger situation and substantial lessening of competition SUMMARY 1. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has found that the anticipated acquisition by Facebook, Inc. (Facebook) of (...)

The US FTC presents a report on nearly a decade of unreported acquisitions by Big Tech companies
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
FTC Staff Presents Report on Nearly a Decade of Unreported Acquisitions by the Biggest Technology Companies* Report analyzes acquisitions by Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft At an open Commission meeting today, the Federal Trade Commission staff presented findings from (...)

The US FTC publishes a report summarizing findings from its study of unreported Big Tech acquisitions
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
,
Hogan Lovells (Washington)
On 15 September 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) published findings from its retrospective study of the non-reported acquisitions by five large technology companies from 2010-2019 (the Report). Focusing on 616 transactions valued at above US$1 million, the Commissioners noted four key (...)

The UK Competition Authority reassesses a merger in the activewear sector and provisionally finds that it raises competition concerns (JD Sports / Footasylum)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Competition concerns remain over JD Sports merger* The CMA has provisionally found JD Sports’ takeover of Footasylum could lead to a worse deal for shoppers, after reassessing the merger. Following the CMA’s final decision to block the merger between JD Sports and Footasylum in May 2020, JD (...)

The Australian Competition Authority sets the stage for debate on changes to merger control laws
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
,
Baker McKenzie (Sydney)
ACCC sets the stage for debate on changes to merger control laws The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ("ACCC") has argued for sweeping reforms to impose significantly higher barriers to proposed mergers. Rod Sims, the Chair of the ACCC, announced the proposals during his (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority conditionally clears the acquisition of a distributor of educational materials by a publisher after a follow-up investigation (Iddink / Sanoma Learning)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
After follow-up investigation, ACM still conditionally clears acquisition of Iddink Group by Sanoma Learning* Publisher Sanoma Learning is allowed to acquire Iddink Group, a distributor of educational materials. Following a court ruling, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that the takeover of the largest provider of GIFs by the largest social media company raises competition concerns (Facebook / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Facebook’s takeover of Giphy raises competition concerns* The CMA has provisionally found Facebook’s merger with Giphy will harm competition between social media platforms and remove a potential challenger in the display advertising market. Facebook app is being selected on a mobile phone. The (...)

The New Zealand Competition Authority unconditionally clears a merger between two real estate online platforms after an in-depth investigation (Trade Me / PropertyNZ)
New Zealand Commerce Commission (Wellington)
Commission grants clearance for Trade Me’s acquisition of Homes.co.nz* The Commission has granted Trade Me Limited (Trade Me) clearance to acquire PropertyNZ Limited. Trade Me Property is the largest online residential listings platform in New Zealand. PropertyNZ Limited owns and operates (...)

The EU Commission opens an in-depth investigation following a referral from Austria to assess the proposed acquisition of a company specialized in the supply of customer relationship management software by a Big Tech company (Facebook / Kustomer)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Mergers: Commission opens in-depth investigation into proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook* The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Kustomer by Facebook under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the (...)

The German Competition Authority examines whether the acquisition of a CRM platform by a social media platform is subject to notification (Facebook / Kustomer)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt examines whether Facebook / Kustomer merger is subject to notification* The Bundeskartellamt has initiated a proceeding against Facebook to examine whether its planned acquisition of the start-up Kustomer falls under the scope of German merger control. Kustomer is based in New (...)

The Japanese FTC publishes its annual mergers report which reveals its active enforcement and continued focus on digital markets
Baker McKenzie (Tokyo)
,
Baker McKenzie (Tokyo)
The latest FY2020 report shows active merger enforcement by the Japan Fair Trade Commission ("JFTC"), despite a decline in filings in a year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably: 266 merger control filings were submitted, a decrease of 14% as compared to the previous year (310 filings for (...)

The Lithuanian Competition Authority refuses to clear the acquisition of sole control of a TV and internet service provider by its competitor despite the commitment offered by the merging parties (Cgates / Splius)
Lithuanian Competition Authority (Vilnius)
CGATES does not get permission to acquire its competitor Splius* The Lithuanian competition authority Konkurencijos taryba refused to clear the acquisition of 100 per cent of the shares and sole control of SPLIUS by Cgates. On 11 December 2020, Konkurencijos taryba received a merger (...)

The Austrian Competition Authority fines a Big Tech company for gun jumping (Facebook / Giphy)
Austrian Competition Authority (Vienna)
Austrian Federal Competition Authority files application to fine Facebook for failing to notify GIPHY acquisition* Facebook cooperates with the AFCA in the course of an amicable conclusion of proceedings and accepts the fine of EUR 9.6 million requested by the AFCA. Background In the course (...)

The Norwegian Competition Tribunal upholds the Competition Authority’s decision to block a merger between two media companies (Schibsted / Nettbil)
Norwegian Competition Authority (Bergen)
Competition Tribunal upholds decision to block Schibsted’s acquisition of Nettbil* The Competition Tribunal agrees with the Norwegian Competition Authority that Schibsted’s acquisition of Nettbil should be prohibited. Schibsted ASA and Nettbil AS operate competing digital marketplaces for (...)

The UK Competition Appeal Tribunal, in a merger case involving two companies providing technology solutions to the travel industry, confirms the Competition Authority’s broad discretion to review deals with limited UK nexus (Sabre / Farelogix)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
In a continuing trend of increased regulatory intervention in deals globally, the UK’s Competition Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) has confirmed that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has broad discretion to claim jurisdiction over mergers, even where one party has very limited and indirect (...)

The UK Competition Authority welcomes the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a Big Tech company’s grounds of appeal regarding how companies engage with the Authority (Facebook / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA welcomes Court judgment in Facebook and Giphy case* The CMA has today welcomed the Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss all 4 of Facebook’s grounds of appeal in a key case on how companies engage with the CMA. The Court of Appeal criticised Facebook’s conduct, saying the “central problem in (...)

The Israeli Competition Authority considers imposing a fine on a Big Tech company for gun jumping in two takeovers of national companies (Facebook / RedKix / Service Friend)
Israel Competition Authority (Jerusalem)
The Director General for Competition is considering to impose monetary sanctions on Facebook a for a violation of the Economic Competition Law by consummating transactions in Israel without the Director General’s consent* The Director General for Competition notified Facebook on 11 May 2021, (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves the acquisition of two online retail supermarket companies by a digital payments technology company (Tata Digital / Supermarket Grocery Supplies / Innovative Retail Concepts)
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
,
Shardul Amarchand Mangaldas (New Delhi)
The CCI approved the acquisition by Tata Digital Limited (TDL) of up to 64.3% of the total share capital of Supermarket Grocery Supplies Limited (SGS) and a potential subsequent acquisition by SGC of sole control over Innovative Retail Concepts Private Limited (IRC). TDL provides technology (...)

The EU Commission provides guidance regarding its policy change to Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation
Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
,
Allen & Overy (Brussels)
On 26 March 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a Staff Working Paper summarising the findings of its evaluation of procedural and jurisdictional aspects of EU merger control (the “Evaluation”), along with a communication providing guidance regarding its change in approach to the (...)

The EU Commission releases the new Article 22 EU Merger Regulation Guidance, which creates legal uncertainty for merger control and a de facto killer acquisition review power
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (London)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The new Article 22 EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) Guidance released by the European Commission (EC) enables the EC to review any acquisition, even those that do not qualify for notification under national (or EU) merger control rules. Summary The new guidance indicates that the EC will actively (...)

The EU Commission publishes guidance on the application of the referral mechanism set out in article 22 of the merger regulation to certain categories of cases
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (Brussels)
The European Commission wants to be able to block or conditionally approve transactions, mainly in the digital economy and in the pharmaceutical sector, even when the thresholds for notification are not met. In publishing its new Article 22 Guidance, the Commission has significantly expanded (...)

The EU Commission publishes a staff working document that summarises the findings of its evaluation of procedural and jurisdictional aspects of EU merger control
Ashurst (Brussels)
,
Ashurst (Brussels)
On 26 March 2021, the European Commission ("Commission") published a Staff Working Document that summarises the findings of its evaluation of procedural and jurisdictional aspects of EU merger control. The Commission has also adopted a communication providing guidance on the application of the (...)

The EU Commission publishes guidance and expands its jurisdiction by capturing transactions below the jurisdictional thresholds of national and EU merger control regimes
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
,
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
,
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (London)
The European Commission (“Commission”) is expanding its jurisdiction over transactions by encouraging national competition authorities (“NCAs”) of the EU Member States to ‘refer’ certain transactions to it that fall below the thresholds for mandatory notification at the EU and the national level. On (...)

The EU Commission assesses in a published policy paper whether its jurisdictional merger control thresholds leave an enforcement gap and whether the administrative burden on merging firms and other market participants is proportionate
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (Brussels)
In a recently published policy paper, the European Commission (EC) assessed whether its jurisdictional merger control thresholds leave an enforcement gap, and whether the administrative burden on merging firms and other market participants is proportionate. The EC concludes that the (...)

The EU Commission publishes guidance on its broadened Member State referral system
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
,
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
The European Commission (EC) has published guidance on its new policy to encourage and accept referral requests from Member States under Article 22 of the EU Merger Regulation (EUMR) even where transactions do not meet the national merger control thresholds of the referring Member States (see (...)

The UK Competition Authority finds that an acquisition of a provider of GIFs by a Big Tech company raises competition concerns in relation to digital advertising and the supply of GIFs (Facebook / Giphy)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Facebook’s purchase of Giphy raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Facebook’s completed acquisition of Giphy raises competition concerns in relation to digital advertising and the supply of GIFs. Giphy is an online database and search engine that allows users to share GIFs and (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation fines ten tech giants for failure to notify economic concentrations under the applicable merger control rules (Alibaba / Tencent / Suning...)
University of Macau - Faculty of Law (Macau)
China’s antitrust enforcer imposes record fines on tech giants for failure to notify their concentrations* On 12 March 2021, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR), China’s competition authority responsible for the enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law (AML), has announced ten (...)

The Dutch District Court of Rotterdam annuls the acquisition of a distributor of educational materials by a publisher and orders the Competition Authority to assess the anticompetitive effects of potential product bundling by a would-be merged entity (Iddink / Sanoma Learning)
Van Doorne (Amsterdam)
,
Van Doorne (Amsterdam)
The District Court of Rotterdam has annulled a decision in which the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) approved the acquisition of Iddink by Sanoma Learning. This is the second time in 12 months that an approval decision by the relevant Dutch authorities has been annulled by the (...)

The UK Competition Authority decides that the merger between two online retail companies raises competition concerns (Adevinta / Gumtree)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
Adevinta’s purchase of Gumtree raises competition concerns* The CMA has found that Adevinta’s anticipated £6.5bn ($9.2 billion) purchase of eCG from eBay could lead to higher prices and less choice for consumers. Adevinta and eBay Classified Group (eCG) both operate online classified advertising (...)

The US Senate introduces a major antitrust bill which outlaws any merger for Big Tech and other companies valued over $100 billion
Portland State University
,
International Center for Law & Economics (Portland)
The Klobuchar Bill’s Not-So-Bright Lines for Antitrust Scrutiny* In a recent op-ed, Robert Bork Jr. laments the Biden administration’s drive to jettison the Consumer Welfare Standard that has formed nearly half a century of antitrust jurisprudence. The move can be seen in the near-revolution at (...)

The UK Competition Authority orders the divestment of a merging party’s international arm in the secondary ticketing market (Viagogo / StubHub)
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 2 February 2021, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) published its final report following a Phase 2 investigation of the completed acquisition by the ticket reseller viagogo of competitor StubHub (previously part of eBay Inc.). The $4.1 billion (£3.1 billion) transaction was (...)

The Indian Competition Authority conditionally approves a merger between fashion retailers (Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail / Flipkart Investments)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Ltd. (“ABFRL / Target”) is a public limited company incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956. ABFRL is engaged in the business of manufacturing and retailing branded apparels, footwear and accessories, through its retail stores, multi-brand outlets, departmental (...)

The Japanese Competition Authority reviews the proposed acquisition of an American producer of consumer fitness electronics by a Big Tech company (Fitbit / Google)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC Reviewed the Proposed Acquisition of Fitbit, Inc. by Google LLC* This case concerns a proposed transaction in which Google LLC (JCN3700150072195) (hereinafter referred to as “Google”) headquartered in the U.S. planned to acquire Fitbit, Inc. headquartered in the U.S. Google Group (a (...)

State Aid

The EU Commission approves a €250M Portuguese measure to facilitate access to finance for small and medium enterprises affected by the COVID-19 pandemic (Banco Português de Fomento) Free
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €250 million Portuguese measure under the Recovery and Resilience Facility to further capitalise Banco Português de Fomento* The European Commission approved, under EU State aid rules, a €250 million Portuguese aid measure, made available through the Recovery and (...)

The EU Commission approves a €3.8B Italian scheme under the Recovery and Resilience Facility to support the deployment of a fast fibre internet provider
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €3.8 billion Italian scheme under Recovery and Resilience Facility to support deployment of Gigabit networks* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €3.8 billion Italian scheme made available through the Recovery and Resilience Facility (...)

The EU Commission approves €610 million voucher scheme to help small and medium enterprises access high-speed broadband services in Italy
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €610 million voucher scheme to support access to high-speed broadband services by small and medium enterprises in Italy* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, a €610 million Italian voucher scheme to help small and medium enterprises (...)

The EU Commission adopts revised guidance setting out the criteria to assess Important Projects of Common European Interest under EU State aid rules
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
In Short The Situation: The European Commission ("Commission") has adopted revised guidance setting out the criteria to assess Important Projects of Common European Interest ("IPCEI") under EU State aid rules ("Communication"). The Background: IPCEIs are cross-border projects that overcome (...)

The EU Commission adopts revised State aid rules on important projects of common European interest
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission adopts revised State aid rules on Important Projects of Common European Interest* The European Commission has adopted a revised Communication on State aid rules for Important Projects of Common European Interest (‘IPCEI Communication’). The revised IPCEI Communication will (...)

The EU Commission invites comments on draft amendments to the General Block Exemption Regulation to further facilitate implementation of aid measures promoting the green and digital transition
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission invites comments on draft proposal to further facilitate implementation of aid measures promoting the green and digital transition* The European Commission is inviting Member States and all other interested parties to comment on certain proposed amendments to the General (...)

The EU Commission publishes the results of an evaluation of EU State aid rules for deployment of broadband networks
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission publishes results of evaluation of EU State aid rules for deployment of broadband networks* The European Commission has published a Commission Staff Working Document summarising the results of an evaluation of the State aid rules for the deployment of broadband networks: (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision that ordered the recovery of €283 million from a Big Tech company back to a country for State aid (Amazon)
Maastricht University
Amazon and the Difficulty of Finding a Comparable Tax Payer* To apply the Arm’s Length Principle to transactions between two related companies, the Commission must identify the less complex company of the two and compare it to a similar independent company. Methodological errors in the (...)

The EU General Court annuls the Commission’s decision declaring the aid granted in favour of a Luxembourg-based subsidiary of a Big Tech company incompatible with the internal market (Amazon)
General Court of the European Union (Luxembourg)
No selective advantage in favour of a Luxembourg subsidiary of the Amazon group: the General Court annuls the Commission’s decision declaring the aid incompatible with the internal market* According to the General Court, the Commission did not prove to the requisite legal standard that there (...)

The EU General Court overrules the Commission’s decision which found that Luxembourg granted State aid to a Big Tech company (Amazon)
Free University of Brussels (ULB)
On 12 May 2021, the General Court ("GC") overruled the Commission’s decision finding that Luxembourg granted State aid to Amazon. It found that the Commission had failed to demonstrate that the intra-group transfer price at issue deviated from an arm’s length outcome and that Amazon’s tax burden (...)

The EFTA Surveillance Authority approves aid for a third submarine cable connecting Iceland with Europe
EFTA Surveillance Authority (Brussels)
ESA approves aid for third submarine cable connecting Iceland with Europe* The EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) has today approved a capital increase of an estimated EUR 50 million to Farice, a state-owned provider of international telecommunications services, for the construction of the IRIS (...)

The EU Commission approves a €750B stimulus plan aimed at creating a “greener, more digital and more resilient” Europe
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
,
Bird & Bird (Brussels)
On 12 February 2021, the European Commission approved Regulation (EU) 2021/241, establishing the Recovery and Resilience Facility (“RRF”), the key component of the recovery instrument NextGenerationEU. This is the most ambitious economic stimulus plan in the history of the European Union, with (...)

The EU Commission approves €325M public support to provide schools in Italy with high speed internet
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
State aid: Commission approves €325 million public support to provide schools in Italy with very high internet speed* The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, €325 million of public support to connect 12,000 schools in Italy to very high-speed internet. The schools that (...)

Procedures

The EU General Court quashes dominant chip manufacturer’s antitrust fine for "exclusivity payments" and censures the EU Commission for multiple due process and substantive errors (Qualcomm)
White & Case (Brussels)
,
White & Case (Brussels)
The General Court of the European Union delivered a blow to the European Commission in fully annulling its Qualcomm (exclusivity payments) decision of 2018 and a EUR 997 million fine. Qualcomm v Commission is the first annulment of an Article 102 TFEU decision adopted by Commissioner Margrethe (...)

The UK Supreme Court dismisses a single claimant’s landmark class action attempt against a Big Tech company for alleged contraventions of data protection law, but lowers the bar for future representative actions (Google / Lloyd)
Covington & Burling (London)
,
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
,
Covington & Burling (London)
On 10 November 2021, the UK Supreme Court ruled in favour of Google in a landmark judgment against an attempt by a single claimant, Mr Richard Lloyd, to bring a representative action on behalf of a class of 4 million iPhone users relating to Google’s alleged contraventions of data protection (...)

The Brussels Court of Appeal suspends a Competition Authority’s decision that found an infringement and accepted commitments (Caudalie)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 30 June 2021, the Markets Court (Marktenhof / Cour des marchés) of the Court of Appeal of Brussels (Hof van Beroep te Brussel / Cour d’appel de Bruxelles) suspended commitments made binding by the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la Concurrence (...)

The EU General Court delivers two new landmark rulings in the field of State aid and taxation against a Big Tech company and an energy company (Amazon) (Engie)
Hogan Lovells (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 12 May 2021, the General Court of the European Union (“GC”) delivered two important judgments concerning tax rulings granted by Luxembourg to Amazon (Joined cases T-816/17, Luxembourg v Commission and T-318/18, Amazon EU and Amazon.com v Commission) and Engie (Joined cases T-516/18, Luxembourg (...)

The EU General Court issues two decisions on State Aid appeals brought by a major Big Tech company and an energy company (Amazon) (Engie)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
,
Arendt & Medernach (London)
On May 12, 2021, the General Court of the European Union (EU) published its decisions on the appeals against the findings of the European Commission (EC) that State aid had been granted to Amazon and Engie by Luxembourg in the form of tax rulings resulting in non-arm’s length transfer pricing (...)

Regulatory

The EU Commission welcomes a political agreement on new rules to ensure fair and open digital markets
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Digital Markets Act: Commission welcomes political agreement on rules to ensure fair and open digital markets* The Commission welcomes the swift political agreement reached yesterday between the European Parliament and EU Member States on the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The regulation, agreed (...)

The EU Parliament and Member States reach an agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (London)
,
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
On Thursday, March 25, 2022, the European Parliament and EU Member States reached agreement on the final text of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA marks a paradigm shift in the regulation of digital markets, giving the European Commission unprecedented powers to regulate leading digital (...)

The EU Commission publishes remarks made by the Executive Vice-President Vestager for the political agreement on the Digital Markets Act
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Remarks by Executive Vice-President Vestager for the political agreement on the Digital Markets Act* "Check against delivery" It is less than 18 months ago that the Commission tabled the two proposals for the Digital Markets Act and the Digital Service act. And here we are today. And with (...)

The Australian Competition Authority joins other national regulators to create a forum for regulating digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Agencies form Digital Platform Regulators Forum* The ACCC, Australian Communications and Media Authority, Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, and Office of the eSafety Commissioner have together formed the Digital Platform Regulators Forum. “The new Digital Platform Regulators (...)

The Australian Competition Authority seeks public feedback on potential new rules for large digital platforms
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (Canberra)
Feedback sought on potential new rules for large digital platforms* The ACCC is seeking views from consumers, businesses and other parties on options for legislative reform to address concerns about the dominance of digital platforms. A discussion paper, released today, outlines options for (...)

The EU Commission proposes a Data Act to enhance data access and sharing within the Union
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Frankfurt)
On February 23, 2022, the European Commission ("Commission") published a proposal for a Data Act which aims at enhancing data access and use within the European Union ("EU"). The Data Act will be applicable to both personal and non-personal data, and will be relevant for all companies (...)

The UK Competition Authority designates a Big Tech company as a grocery retailer to protect suppliers (Amazon)
United Kingdom’s Competition Authority (CMA) (London)
CMA designates Amazon as a grocery retailer to protect suppliers* The CMA has announced that industry rules setting out how grocery retailers should treat their suppliers will now apply to Amazon. Amazon.com, Inc’s (Amazon) increasing activity in the UK groceries’ sector in recent years has led (...)

The EU Parliament adopts the amended draft of the Digital Services Act with several last-minute changes
Hogan Lovells (Hamburg)
,
Hogan Lovells (Hamburg)
In December 2020, the EU Commission had published its first draft for the Digital Services Act (DSA) – laying the foundations for its ambitious plan to reshape Europe’s digital future. The proposed legislation will bring a comprehensive package of harmonized rules for the Internet economy across (...)

The EU Parliament and Council adopt amendments to the Commission’s proposal for negotiating the final text of the Digital Markets Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 December 2021, the European Parliament (“Parliament”) adopted its position for negotiating the final text of the so-called Digital Markets Act (Regulation on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector)(“DMA”), shortly after the Council of the European Union (“Council”) had adopted its (...)

The EU Commission publishes a Communication on a competition policy which would support the transition to a sustainable, digital, and resilient European economy
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 18 November 2021, the European Commission (“Commission”) published a communication on a competition policy fit for new challenges (“Communication”). There has been a significant push toward a more European Union-centred industrial policy which would support the transition to a sustainable, (...)

The Italian Government approves the draft annual law for competition
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (Milan)
,
White & Case (Milan)
After several delays, on November 4, 2021, the Italian Council of Ministers examined and finally approved the draft Annual Law for Competition ("Draft") pursuant to Article 47 of Law No. 99/2009. The Draft reflects most of the proposals sent to the Italian government by the Italian Competition (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority, the Data Protection Authority, the Financial Markets Authority, and the Media Authority announce the launch of a Digital Regulation Cooperation Platform, highlighting their intention to work together more closely to strengthen oversight of digital and online activities
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) (The Hague)
Dutch regulators strengthen oversight of digital activities by intensifying cooperation* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM), the Dutch Data Protection Authority (AP), the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM), and the Dutch Media Authority (CvdM) will work (...)

The US President Joe Biden issues an executive order to promote competition in the American economy that includes 72 initiatives targeting the labor, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, internet service, technology, banking, and consumer finance sectors
Covington & Burling (Washington)
,
Covington & Burling (Washington)
,
Covington & Burling (Washington)
President Biden today signed an expansive Executive Order to promote competition that includes 72 initiatives targeting the labor, healthcare, agriculture, transportation, internet service, technology, and banking and consumer finance sectors. In the Order, President Biden calls on the (...)

The US President Joe Biden issues an executive order on promoting competition in the American economy calling on the DoJ and FTC to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously
Bona Law (San Diego)
,
Bona Law (Detroit)
Antitrust Political Developments: Biden Administration Issues Executive Order on Competition and Congress Proposes Six New Antitrust Bills* This month President Biden issued the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy (the “Order”). The Order aims to reduce the trend of (...)

The US President Joe Biden issues an executive order which articulates the administration’s broad antitrust policy and instructs antitrust agencies to increase enforcement to prevent a rise in consumer prices and competitive harm in labor markets
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
Takeaways Under the Biden administration’s “whole-of-government” approach to promoting competition, a range of agencies outside the DOJ and FTC have been asked to use their authority to reform markets. Wide-ranging procedural changes at the FTC have expanded its review powers and complicated (...)