Hybrid Differentiation and Competition Beyond Markets

Competition Policy International, Antitrust Chronicle June 2020 (II)

9 Pages Posted: 17 Aug 2020

See all articles by Inge Graef

Inge Graef

Tilburg Law School; Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC)

Date Written: June 24, 2020

Abstract

Hybrid differentiation occurs when a platform discriminates among businesses in a related market in which it is not active itself with the aim to increase or maintain its competitive advantage elsewhere. An example is a platform blocking an app that interferes with its ability to gain revenues through advertising. Hybrid differentiation is particularly relevant where a platform builds an ecosystem or conglomerate around its main activity. As a competitive strategy beyond vertical integration that serves to protect the platform’s overall activities and business model, hybrid differentiation is different from the self-preferencing at stake in Google Shopping. This paper submits that the assessment of hybrid differentiation requires attention for the broader competitive strategies of dominant platforms going beyond traditional forms of leveraging and the relevant markets in which they operate.

Keywords: Discrimination; abuse of dominance; ecosystems; conglomerates; online platforms; potential competition; innovation; access; tying

JEL Classification: K20; K21; K30; L43; O38

Suggested Citation

Graef, Inge, Hybrid Differentiation and Competition Beyond Markets (June 24, 2020). Competition Policy International, Antitrust Chronicle June 2020 (II), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3652326

Inge Graef (Contact Author)

Tilburg Law School ( email )

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Tilburg Law and Economics Center (TILEC) ( email )

Warandelaan 2
Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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