Tipping in digital platform markets

Webinar of the "Law & Economics" Series organised by Concurrences, in partnership with Cleary Gottlieb, Compass Lexecon, Facebook and Orrick, with Marco Iansiti (David Sarnoff Professor of Business Administration - Codirector of the Laboratory for Information Science, Harvard Business School), Antonio Nicita (Commissioner, Italian Communications Regulatory Authority, AGCOM | Full Professor of Economics, Lumsa University Rome), Nicolas Petit (Professor of European Competition Law, European University Institute), Thomas Graf (Partner, Cleary Gottlieb), David Sevy (Executive Vice President, Compass Lexecon) and James Tierney (Partner, Orrick).

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James Tierney (Partner, Orrick) opened the discussion by defining tipping and explaining its effects: the disproportionate selection by customers of the firm’ product and the emergence of the firm as a de facto standard. When market tips, the winner takes all. Market power then allows the firm to price above competitive levels or engage in other anti-competitive behaviour. That power can be durable. The market is unlikely to self-correct and self-regulate, even if a better product emerges. Mr Tierney then invited the panellists to focus on the characteristics of tipping markets and the public policy implications of market tipping. He stressed that digital transformation is spreading across the most traditional industry segments, which Google’s acquisition of Nest, a manufacturer of digital thermostats, indicates, as well as the evolution of AmEx or JP Morgan Chase’s business models to leverage network effects using data analytics and connected services.  

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  • LUMSA University (Rome)
  • European University Institute (Florence)
  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton (Brussels)
  • Compass Lexecon (Paris)
  • Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Washington)
  • Harvard Business School