Competition Law at the Crossroads in the Digital Economy: Is it All About Google?
EuCML, 2015, Vol. 4, issue 5, pp. 170-178
27 Pages Posted: 15 Dec 2015
Date Written: December 7, 2015
On 15 April 2015 the European Commission sent a Statement of Objections to Google in the framework of its ongoing investigation, which was opened against the company on 30 November 2010. The allegations against Google are the preferential treatment of its results in online search, i. e. that the company prefers “Google Shopping” to the vertical search results of its rivals. The competition law concerns of the European Commission are thereby an alleged abuse of a dominant position by Google (Article 102 TFEU). The investigation against Google is, on the one hand, an example of complex questions, which are posed to competition law in the Digital Economy. On the other hand, it is a “peak of an iceberg” in a much broader context. The Internet has embraced new business models, which (possibly) impact the patterns of users’ behaviour in the information-based economy. For competition law this means that, in order to better understand online markets, a much broader analysis may be needed, in particular, in terms of an interdisciplinary research on sociological and psychological aspects of the behaviour of Internet users. The question thereby is whether a “more behavioural approach” to competition law needs to be integrated into a competition law assessment. The case against Google is thereby an impulse, and may, thus, be the beginning rather than the end of the story.
Keywords: platform competition, Internet Economy, digital dominance, abuse of dominance, the investigation against Google in the EU, a “more behavioural approach” to competition law
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