What Are the Pro- and Anti-Competitive Claims Driving the European Commission’s Platform Policies? A Case Study Based Analysis of the European Commission’s Take on Platform Cases

43 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2019

See all articles by Adelaida Afilipoaie

Adelaida Afilipoaie

imec-SMIT-VUB

Karen Donders

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Institute for European Studies

Pieter Ballon

iMinds-SMIT, VUB

Date Written: July 26, 2019

Abstract

The European Commission’s digital single market policies are becoming increasingly concerned with the impact of so-called ‘platforms’ on competition in the internal market. Whereas the Commission acknowledges the contributions of platform companies to innovation and consumer welfare, it also sees actual and potential damages occurring from their powerful position. As such, the Commission aims to strengthen the enforcement of its competition law rules in this area. We do not focus on the actual outcome of the application of competition law, but more so on the claims made about the pro- and anti-competitive effects of platforms that inform both agenda-setting and actual decision-making. After analysing four case studies we came to the conclusion that the Commission, in these cases is (1) recognizing the platform circumstance as their focus is more on B2B relations rather than B2C; (2) focusing more on behavioural than structural effects; (3) finding it difficult to hand out the right mix of remedies in ex-ante regulation; (4) somewhat understanding of the impact of network effects; (5) quite complex in their analysis especially for software-based mergers. Finally, we observe that the Commission’s stance is largely inspired by legal and economic experts and public interest concerns are largely missing from the debate.

Keywords: Media and Telecommunication Platforms, Competition Law, Competitive Effects, Mergers, European Commission

JEL Classification: K21

Suggested Citation

Afilipoaie, Adelaida and Donders, Karen and Ballon, Pieter, What Are the Pro- and Anti-Competitive Claims Driving the European Commission’s Platform Policies? A Case Study Based Analysis of the European Commission’s Take on Platform Cases (July 26, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3426464 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3426464

Adelaida Afilipoaie (Contact Author)

imec-SMIT-VUB ( email )

Pleinlaan 2
http://www.vub.ac.be/
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

Karen Donders

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) - Institute for European Studies ( email )

Pleinlaan 15
Brussels, 1050
Belgium

Pieter Ballon

iMinds-SMIT, VUB ( email )

Pleinlaan 9
Brussels, Brabant 1050
Belgium

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