Cyber competition: New challenges for antitrust enforcers?

Conference organised in Brussels by Concurrences Review in partnership with Copenhagen Economics, Shearman & Sterling and White & Case.



Judge Ulf Öberg

Judge Öberg discussed some challenges that the cyber economy poses to more traditional assumptions of competition analysis. The traditional antitrust approach in particular in brick and mortar economies is more or less static. Here economic analysis mainly focuses on price and quantity. Cyber competition challenges that toolbox due to the particular features of these markets, which include platform competition, multi-sidedness, relevance of innovation and data, or free services. What do we do when the competitive constraint may be written into the algorithm? How do we do when innovation is harder to predict and measure than price effects? These, and other difficulties, could explain why the Commission had, until recently, focused mainly on price effects, and ignored competitive constraints that could harm consumers in different ways. In the context of merger control this could mean a review of the notification thresholds involving innovative targets that have little or zero turnover. The idea behind is to prevent incumbent firms from buying-out competitive constraints or disruptive technologies. Of course, the main question remains unanswered. How do we relate the intensity of competition to the rate of innovation?

Photos © Emilie Gomez

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