Monday, February 16, 2009
Posted by D. Daniel Sokol
David Evans (University of Chicago, University College London, LECG) analyzes Antitrust Issues Raised by the Emerging Global Internet Economy.
ABSTRACT: Web-based businesses are increasingly the subject of antitrust concerns. Plaintiffs in the United States have sued eBay for tying its online payments service to its transaction service. Multiple jurisdictions in the European Community have claimed that Apple has violated the competition laws by limiting the ability of its music player to play music from competing music stores and limiting the ability of competing music players to play music purchased from its music stores. During 2007, although the U.S. Federal Trade Commission decided not to block Google's acquisition of DoubleClick after a lengthy investigation, it expressed its intent to "closely watch these markets" involved in online advertising. The web economy poses two major challenges to competition authorities. The law and economics for analyzing the multi-sided platforms that dominate the internet sector is not well developed. At the same time the web-economy is evolving very rapidly and in ways that are sure to result in antitrust complaints and investigations. Competition authorities and courts will need to exercise great care in balancing the protection of consumers from anticompetitive behavior against causing harm from interfering in complex businesses that are both rapidly moving and not fully understood.