Recent years have seen the spread of free services, in particular in the digital area, whose effects on competition are not univocal. The competitive analysis of the provision of free goods and/or services, in particular when they are offered by companies holding a significant market power, is a challenging task for competition authorities which raises the question of the relevance of traditional analytical tools as well as that of the regulatory framework in place. The sensitive issue of personal data collection and processing brings an additional layer of complexity which has to be assessed by competition authorities on a case by case basis, in light of each individual circumstances.
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