Antitrust Market Definition for Digital Ecosystems
Concurrences N° 2-2021 I On-Topic I Competition policy in the digital economy, pages 3-9
11 Pages Posted: 18 May 2021
Date Written: May 12, 2021
Competition law needs to be able to rely on its most fundamental analytical tools in order to properly carry out competitive assessments. This includes market definition as the first step in virtually any competition case. And this also holds true in digital markets. Market definition has risen to a considerable number of challenges in the digital sphere, including zero-price markets, multi-sided markets and data as a multipurpose input. Recently, an additional challenge has come into sharper focus: The coming of age of ever more sophisticated digital ecosystems that consist of multiple actors and offer a range of interconnected goods and services.
As the European Commission is preparing to bring its Market Definition Notice into the 21st century, the delineation of digital ecosystems is a challenge that it will certainly need to address in its new market definition framework. The repercussions of this may be significant for the substantive antitrust analysis.
The present contribution highlights the particular market definition challenges associated with digital ecosystems, as well as possible approaches to the delineation of digital ecosystems for antitrust purposes inspired by aftermarket delineation, cluster markets, and platforms. It identifies multilayered market delineation for digital ecosystems as a meaningful way to account for competitive constraints at the ecosystem level, while allowing antitrust enforcers to zoom in to particular markets and market sides.
Keywords: Competition law, digital ecosystems, market definition, multi-sided markets, relevant market
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation