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What’s Going on With Antitrust Authorities’ Inquiries?

It’s the end of summer and we are about to start a new antitrust calendar year that usually kicks off with the Georgetown Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium and Fordham Annual Conference on International Antitrust Law & Policy in DC and NYC respectively.  As we enter the fall, antitrust experts will continue to focus their attention on the so-called digital economy (although everything now seems to be digital). Part of that focus will surely include the numerous initiatives that different competition authorities have undertaking.

Last antitrust calendar year marked the year of competition authorities’ inquiries into the digital sector.  In preparation for the review of these inquiries, DisCo is providing a recap of several public consultations undertaken last year.

Australian ACCC:  As requested by the now-Prime Minister of Australia, and in compliance with the Australian competition, the Australian competition authority (ACCC) has conducted a sector inquiry into digital platforms.  CCIA submitted these comments and the final report of the ACCC’s study is available here.

Israel Authority:  The Israel Competition Authority opened a similar investigation to Israel’s Antitrust Authority and requested feedback on whether it should amend its approach to competition within the online markets.  CCIA offered its views in this submission; outcomes of the Antitrust Authority’s inquiry are expected in the coming months.

UK CMA:  The competition authority of the UK (CMA), following the recommendations included in a report commissioned by the UK government to a group of experts (frequently referred to as the Furman Report), has opened two important consultations:  (i) inquiry into digital mergers;  and (ii) consultation into digital advertising and business models supported by online ads.  CCIA also provided its views on these two consultations that are available here and here.  

Spanish CNMC:  The increased interest in online advertising encouraged the Spanish competition authority (CNMC) to launch a consultation into digital advertising.  The consultation scope can be found here, and similarly to other inquiries, CCIA filed its views here.  Recently the CNMC offered a summary of responses received.  The result of the study may come within the next month.

US DOJ:  The United States Department of Justice did not launch a consultation in digital advertising but organized a workshop on this topic inviting first tier experts in the field.  Following this workshop, interested stakeholders were invited to submit comments. CCIA’s views can be found here.  

US FTC:  The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) conducted hearings relating to competition in the digital space, that can be categorized as the broadest consultations carried out by a competition agency.  The FTC covered a wide variety of topics from big data to mergers to monopolization in the digital space. CCIA filed its comments (available here), participated in some of the panels, and DisCo offered summaries of the discussions here.  

European Commission:  The European Commission (EC) commissioned the Crémer Report, which focuses on competition policy in the digital era.  CCIA offered its views to the authors in this filing.  In addition, as part of its regular work, the EC launched a consultation that marks the roadmap for reviewing its vertical block exemption regulation that will likely impact the digital space.  The EC also launched a consultation relating to merger control thresholds, in light of some Member States’ amendments to their national merger control rules to include thresholds referring to the value of a transaction.  CCIA offered its views in both consultations.  


Some, if not all of society’s most useful innovations are the byproduct of competition. In fact, although it may sound counterintuitive, innovation often flourishes when an incumbent is threatened by a new entrant because the threat of losing users to the competition drives product improvement. The Internet and the products and companies it has enabled are no exception; companies need to constantly stay on their toes, as the next startup is ready to knock them down with a better product.