Challenges for Antitrust Enforcement in the Technology Sector

Law & Economics Workshop organized by Concurrences Review in partnership with Latham & Watkins.

Sven B. Völcker: What is your position in matter of intervention in technology markets: intervene early to prevent the emergence of monopolies which would lead to network effects, or, intervene after, according to the idea that the market is better at correcting itself than regulators will ever be?

Guillaume Loriot: The first question to ask in matter of technology markets is whether they deserve a specific treatment. These markets may be moving faster than other markets due to the pace of innovation, but they deserve the same treatment as other markets with regard to the main goal to be achieved: competition on the merits. In antitrust, the usual control is ex-post but the new issue is whether the specificities of technology markets will allow enough entries to prevent the antitrust issues. It is rather an assessment of each case on its merits than a school of thought. If a conduct risk preventing innovation from competitors, then there is a need for intervention. To answer on the timing of intervention, it depends on the type of conduct, the type of harm we are looking for and the challenge is to know when we are able to detect harm with enough certainty to intervene. Intervening once we have found the dead bodies is too late. We need to identify elements leading to harm to competition, and when too many of them are found, we need to act.

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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  • DG COMP (Brussels)
  • Yale University - School of Management (New Haven)
  • Latham & Watkins (San Francisco)
  • Latham & Watkins (Brussels)