Tech companies, big data, and competition: Diverging views in the US and EU

In a recent interview, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager indicated the commission would begin to pay closer attention to a company’s consumer data holdings when examining mergers or violations of European Union (EU) competition laws. As she noted, “In some areas, these data are extremely valuable. They can foreclose the market — they can give the parties that have them immense business opportunities that are not available to others.”

It is even reported that the EU is reconsidering its merger laws to reflect the importance of data holdings even when corporate revenue shares are low.

Although the interview and potential legal amendments are news, the consideration of data concentration as potentially harmful to competition is not new to US antitrust authorities. In analyzing mergers, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Department of Justice (DOJ) consider whether the merger would foreclose opportunities for rivals to compete for the market. Foreclosure might come in many forms — the merger might tie up essential assets or key labor. Foreclosure might come from accumulation of patents or other key inputs or from sheer domination of the entire consumer base.  Adding consumer data holdings to the list of potentially key assets to review in mergers is not a difficult task for antitrust authorities. This is because US antitrust merger review is based largely on economic principles. In the merger context, for example, economics may be applied to predict whether foreclosure will occur or not, whatever the source may be. If foreclosure is predicted, and if the degree of foreclosure is determined to be legally unacceptable, the merger will be denied or permitted with conditions that fix the foreclosure issues.

Περισσότερα εδώ:

Tech companies, big data, and competition: Diverging views in the US and EU


Σχετικά Άρθρα