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Antitrust Issues Raised by the Emerging Global Internet Economy

Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 102, No. 4, p. 285, 2008

22 Pages Posted: 7 Oct 2008  

David S. Evans

Global Economics Group; University College London

Date Written: May 12, 2008

Abstract

Web-based businesses are increasingly the subject of antitrust concerns. Plaintiffs in the United States have sued eBay for tying its online payments service to its transaction service. Multiple jurisdictions in the European Community have claimed that Apple has violated the competition laws by limiting the ability of its music player to play music from competing music stores and limiting the ability of competing music players to play music purchased from its music stores. During 2007, although the U.S. Federal Trade Commission decided not to block Google's acquisition of DoubleClick after a lengthy investigation, it expressed its intent to "closely watch these markets" involved in online advertising. The web economy poses two major challenges to competition authorities. The law and economics for analyzing the multi-sided platforms that dominate the internet sector is not well developed. At the same time the web-economy is evolving very rapidly and in ways that are sure to result in antitrust complaints and investigations. Competition authorities and courts will need to exercise great care in balancing the protection of consumers from anticompetitive behavior against causing harm from interfering in complex businesses that are both rapidly moving and not fully understood.

Keywords: antitrust, web-based businesses, internet economy, web-based economy, multi-sided platforms

JEL Classification: L4, K0, O3

Suggested Citation

Evans, David S., Antitrust Issues Raised by the Emerging Global Internet Economy (May 12, 2008). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 102, No. 4, p. 285, 2008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1279686

David S. Evans (Contact Author)

Global Economics Group ( email )

111 Devonshire St.
Suite 900
Boston, MA 02108
United States

University College London ( email )

Gower St
London WC1E OEG, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

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