Friday, November 16, 2018

The Challenge of Digital Markets: First, Let Us Not Forget the Lessons Learnt Over the Years

Pablo Ibáñez Colomo and Gianni De Stefano explore The Challenge of Digital Markets: First, Let Us Not Forget the Lessons Learnt Over the Years.

ABSTRACT: Pleas for the reinvention of EU competition law in the digital age have become popular – so much so that they feature in the generalist press (and the pages of this journal). It is regularly claimed that efficiency and/or consumer welfare are poor guides to address the emerging challenges for the discipline. A whole new approach to competition law (labelled ‘New Brandeis’) defines its identity around this key tenet.

Such claims are also made in relation to specific practices or markets. The rise in the use of algorithms, some commentators argue, is a new threat that requires the refinement of existing doctrines. Similar arguments have been advanced in relation to the prominence of online platforms, which are deemed too mighty to leave legal principles untouched.

There is no reason to exclude digital markets from the reach of EU competition law. What is more, some of the economic dynamics of online markets may, in some circumstances, justify vigorous intervention. This said, it is far from clear whether there is something truly unique about the digital world that warrants a fundamental rethink of the law as it stands.

This editorial suggests that the main risk for EU competition law, at this juncture, is not so much its alleged failure to adapt to new circumstances, but its tendency to forget the lessons learnt over the years.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/antitrustprof_blog/2018/11/the-challenge-of-digital-markets-first-let-us-not-forget-the-lessons-learnt-over-the-years-.html

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