Will a one-size-fits-all digital markets act deliver for consumers?

The "Will a one-size-fits-all digital markets act deliver for consumers?" Chatham House Rule style round-table featured key presentations by Amelia Fletcher (University of East Anglia) and Martin Peitz (University of Mannheim), followed by a live debate with key stakeholders from competition agencies, economists, lawyers and academics, and closed by a Q&A session. The presentations, the debate and the Q&A were chaired by Frédéric Jenny (OECD - Competition Division). This second-of-its-kind Chatham House Rule style round-table was co-organised by Concurrences in partnership with Apple, RBB Economics and Skadden.

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Frederic Jenny began by reminding that the EU proposal is mostly about imposing a set of obligations to so-called “gatekeepers”. Gatekeepers are defined mostly based on quantitative criteria, although the Commission retains the alternative power to qualify a company as gatekeeper following a qualitative analysis. With this qualification come positive and negative obligations which would apply to all gatekeepers – non-compliance may be sanctioned with a fine of up to 10 per cent of global turnover. This proposal has opened a lively debate both in Europe and elsewhere.

This debate first revolved around the necessity to complement competition policy, and second around the appropriateness of across-the-board regulation to digital issues. One can also wonder whether the DMA is a departure from competition paradigms in that it does not focus primarily on consumer welfare standards but rather on business practices. The fact that proposed obligations are based on previous cases examined by the Commission is another matter for discussion. The proper articulation of antitrust rules by the Commission and national competition agencies with the DMA will also prove an interesting topic.

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