Applying (EU) competition law to online platforms: Reflections on the definition of the relevant market(s)
24 Pages Posted: 17 Nov 2018
Date Written: May 23, 2018
Future Art. 102 TFEU cases concerning online platforms will require revisiting the process of the market definition in light of the complexities that are likely to arise due to the two- or multi sided nature of such platforms. This distinctive nature will firstly require determining the number of relevant markets that need to be defined in each case before the scope of such markets can be accurately delineated. Unfortunately, however, the current approaches to this first, new step, of the market definition process are incompatible with business reality. Therefore this article provides an alternative approach to this complexity, which is better suited to guarantee the trueness of the market definition findings. Accordingly, this article indicates that the number of relevant markets in each case should be determined based on the typology of the interactions facilitated by the online platform and the degree of substitutability of such online platform with other non-platform undertakings from the perspective of its customers groups. This approach allows reaching findings of market power in a manner that adequately reflects the business reality of such platforms in the digital economy and the degree of competitive pressure they may experience in practice.
Keywords: Online Platforms, Competition law, Market Definition, Relevant Market, Two-sided markets,
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