ETNO response to the call for contributions "Shaping Competition Policy in the Era of Digitalization"
ETNO welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Commission’s call for contributions on the implications of digitisation for competition policy. ETNO believes that – while competition rules are in principle flexible enough – digital markets require a critical review of the underlying assumptions and tools. In particular, this contribution addresses the new challenges for the competitive assessment in the digital markets. These are related to a range of issues such as the role of data, market definition and market power assessment as well as the resulting implications for antitrust and merger cases in the digital economy.
Given the growing impact of online platforms on the overall economy and the increasing concentration in the digital markets, ETNO believes that competition law practice needs to adapt to the unique characteristics and dynamics of the digital markets. In particular, the following areas require special attention:
- Consideration of all competitive aspects of the complex role of data;
- Examining the competitive role and impact of “gatekeeper” platforms and reassessing conglomerate power;
- Taking a more holistic and dynamic approach and paying more attention to the impact certain mergers or conducts have on innovation;
- Adapting speed and effectiveness of enforcement to the dynamics of digital markets.
In the following four sections we will look at each of these issues in more detail, giving a broader context and conveying some preliminary ideas for concrete actions to improve or adapt the competitive assessment to the era of digitalisation.