ARTICLE: COMPETITION POLICY - DIGITAL ECONOMY - REGULATION - ONLINE PLATFORMS

The platform-to-business regulation: Taming the “big tech” beast?

In recent years, the term “online platforms” has almost monopolized discussions in EU policy circles. The EU institutions have taken several initiatives in the realms of competition enforcement and regulatory law that seek to ensure that the current legal framework is adapted to the specificities of the platform economy. One such initiative is the platform-to-business (P2B) Regulation, which attempts to address “economic dependence” on platforms. The P2B Regulation is the first attempt to introduce—what could qualify as—horizontal and competition-based regulation adapted to the platform economy. This article examines in detail the changes that this new tool is expected to bring about with a view to identifying questions that are expected to arise from its implementation. The analysis is conducted against the background of the ongoing process of reform of (EU and national) competition law and the wave of EU regulation that is coming for platforms.

I. Introduction 1. In recent years, the term “online platforms” has almost monopolized discussions in public policymaking. It is no secret that, until recently, platforms have not faced significant hurdles on the competition/regulatory front. For example, as regards competition enforcement, “over the last 10 years the 5 largest firms have made over 400 acquisitions globally. None has been blocked and very few have had conditions attached to approval (…) or even been scrutinised by competition authorities.” [1] This can be attributed to various factors, including an excessive focus on protecting price competition [2] and the general perception that vertical (or conglomerate) mergers do more good than harm. With respect to regulation, platforms have been subject to some “light touch”

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  • European Broadcasting Union (EBU) (Geneva)

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Konstantina Bania, The platform-to-business regulation: Taming the “big tech” beast?, May 2020, Concurrences N° 2-2020, Art. N° 94429, pp. 52-64

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