Competition law Blog

Official Blog of the European Competition and Regulatory Law Review (CoRe)

The CoRe Blog is the interactive online platform for up-to-date analysis of EU competition law developments. It’s the blog companion of the quarterly double blind peer-reviewed European Competition and Regulatory Law Review (CoRe). The CoRe Blog fills in the gaps that a 4-times-a-year journal can’t address: immediate updates and analysis of breaking news in EU competition and regulatory law and the opportunity to discuss these developments directly with other experts through our Comments section.

We want to hear what you think about the hot topics in EU competition and regulatory law. So share your thoughts in the Comments section of every blog post or submit your own post (500-2000 words) as an external author. The author of the most popular blog post in the last quarter will be published in the CoRe journal and get a free copy of an issue of their choice.

 

- Article 102 TFEU ×

Epic v Apple (2): market power and foreclosure in the app distribution market(s)

Epic, Fortnite, Apple, battle royale, competition law, antitrust, district court, monopolization, monopoly, essential facilities, refusal to supply, tying, abuse of dominance
Epic’s battle against Apple has been extensively covered in media in the past month. This attention is undoubtedly due to Epic’s explicit move against Apple’s terms and conditions as well as Apple’s fierce reaction to cut all ties with Epic. Epic’s legal dispute is, however, not only against Apple but also against Google who has removed Epic from its Play […]

Epic v Apple (1): introducing antitrust’s latest Big Tech battle royale

Epic, Fortnite, Apple, battle royale, competition law, antitrust, district court, monopolization, monopoly, essential facilities, refusal to supply, tying, abuse of dominance
Mid-August 2020, a series of events unfolded in a short period of time. They may prove a watershed moment for the role of antitrust in regulating digital markets. It started when gamers playing Fortnite on their iPhone were suddenly faced with a new choice screen when buying in-app currency: What changed is that Epic, the developer of Fortnite, introduced an […]

Slack v. Microsoft – more than just another tying case

The recent wave of claims against digital giants appears to have completed a circle with Slack’s recent claim against Microsoft for allegedly abusing its dominant position by tying Microsoft Teams to the Office 365 software package. One cannot deny the resemblance between this claim and the previous tying cases Microsoft had faced, however, upon closer look Slack’s claim is much […]

Re-imagining the Abuse of Economic Dependence in a Digital World

Mobile apps image
As proven by the recent consultation on the Digital Services Act, the European Union is actively pursuing new solutions to cope with the challenges posed by digitalization. This post proposes a new approach to conducts taking place in the context of online commercial relationships, such as refusals to access platforms or datasets. Namely, it suggests that the European legislator should […]

Corona and EU economic law: Antitrust (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU)

By Friso Bostoen and Liesbet Van Acker As the corona pandemic instils more and more fear in the population, some of its economic effects are immediately noticeable. Two items—hand sanitizer and facemasks—have been in particularly high demand (and short supply). This has driven prices up to a level where one may wonder whether they are abusive in the sense of […]

Lessons and questions from Google Android- Part 2 – Tying in two-sided markets, anti-competitive effects and extra-territorial remedies

Android with cookies
The very lengthy and complex Google Android decision provides us with lots of material for discussion. In the first part of this discussion the matter of the definition of the relevant market was addressed. Although it may appear that this is the only key issue in the case, the decision covers several other issues, which deserve equal (if not more) attention. […]

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

online shopping cartoon
The 17th of July has been quite the day for Amazon, at least when it comes to antitrust. Firstly, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt) has closed its abuse of dominance proceedings against Amazon in return for concessions from the online marketplace. Secondly, the European Commission announced that it was opening a formal investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by Amazon. This blog post takes a closer […]

Abuse of relative dominance in the platform economy: a French court finds Amazon’s contracts with third-party sellers significantly imbalanced

Two years ago (before Amazon became entangled in a patchwork of investigations by competition authorities), Reuters reported: ‘France files complaint against Amazon for abuse of dominant position’. The news report did not garner a lot of attention. More surprisingly, neither did the recent judgment of the Paris Commercial Court on the complaint. As the judgment offers insight into several pressing questions presented by platform competition […]

‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’: when does copying your competitor’s product become anticompetitive?

same sneakers with different price
‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’, read a recent tweet by Jeff Morris Jr. (Tinder’s director of product). ‘There are no rules anymore’, the author continued, ‘if you build a product that works, Amazon or Facebook will copy it.’ The tweet was prompted by the apparent copying by Amazon of Allbirds. Allbirds is a brand famous for its merino wool […]

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

wood working tools
The interest of national competition authorities in the matter of online platforms and competition law is becoming increasingly visible. In the case of the Dutch competition authority this growing interest has recently resulted in a call for introducing ex-ante enforcement tools in the context of online platforms. Although the idea may indeed be constructive for the adaption of the current […]

Is there hope for competition in the rail sector?

The blocking of the Siemens-Alstom merger reminded everyone of the ‘pros and cons’ arguments in the debate on the liberalisation and competition in network industries. Despite the EU actions to liberalise rail markets and open them to competition, the issues relevant to incumbents who own both the rail infrastructure and freight operations are still at present. Several years ago the Commission imposed […]

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The MFN cases of the past few years have delivered a series of uncoordinated cases that created a fragmented approach towards MFN clauses. Nowadays it would appear that there is a growing consensus in Europe that wide MFN clauses should be prohibited which, also led major platform like Expedia to abandon these pricing strategies. The recent claim put forward by […]

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

smartphone menu
During the past few weeks the number of complaints against Apple’s practices concerning the App Store has not gone unnoticed. While previous complaints by unhappy developers were perceived as isolated cases it would seem that now the flood gates have been opened, and the stream is primarily targeting Apple. In Europe, this development has been given quite some media coverage […]

2018:270 MEO – Serviços de Comuniçações e Multimédia SA v Autoridade da Concorrência

old phone
  Court Court of Justice Date of ruling 19 April 2018 Case name (short version) MEO – Serviços de Comuniçações e Multimédia SA v Autoridade da Concorrência Case Citation C-525/16 ECLI:EU:C:2018:270 Key words Reference for a preliminary ruling — Competition — Abuse of dominant position — Subparagraph (c) of the second paragraph of Article 102 TFEU — Concept of ‘competitive […]

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

The recent complaint of Spotify against Apple is yet another case concerning the contractual relationship between online platforms and their business users that appear to arise quite often these days. In the context of these cases the business users of online platforms claim to be subject to undesired practices such discriminatory treatment and unreasonable pricing. The essence of most of these complaints […]

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 6th, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt or BKA) adopted its long-awaited Facebook decision, imposing far-reaching restrictions on how the social network can collect and process user data. This decision follows a preliminary assessment that the BKA published in December 2017, which this blog discussed at length. The BKA’s decision—as set out in a case summary and background paper—sticks closely to its preliminary assessment. In this blog post, […]

2018:854 Apple Sales International and Others MJA

  Court Court of Justice Date of ruling 24 October 2018 Case name (short version) Apple Sales International and Others MJA Case Citation ECLI:EU:C:2018:854 C-595/17 Key words Reference for a preliminary ruling — Area of freedom, security and justice — Jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters — Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 — Article 23 — Jurisdiction clause in a distribution […]

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

The investigation On 29 November 2018, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) announced an investigation into Amazon’s business terms and practices on its German marketplace. The Bundeskartellamt’s president commented: Amazon is the largest online retailer and operates by far the largest online marketplace in Germany. Many retailers and manufacturers depend on the reach of Amazon’s marketplace for their online sales. Amazon functions as […]

New momentum for abandoning the 50+1 rule of the German Bundesliga?

Have you recovered from the World Cup yet? Whether or not, it is now time to focus on the national football leagues again and support the football club of your choice (for better or worse). With regard to the German Bundesliga, the old issue of club-ownership has come back into focus over the summer when the Deutsche Fußball Liga (‘DFL’ […]

The Commission’s Android decision: Google cements its dominance in search… to the benefit of consumers?

Last week’s Commission decision on Google’s Android operating system made for great headlines. On top of the eye-watering fine of €4.3 billion, it even had the dubious honour of eliciting a presidential tweet. It was the kind of decision that sparked extensive papers long before its adoption, and a barrage of commentary immediately afterwards. Now that the dust has settled, […]

The Commission’s Gazprom decision – an environmentally relevant demonstration of the Commission’s power

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is making a name for herself as the Commissioner who really takes on the ‘big whales’ of international corporations and holds them accountable to EU competition law. After the Commission took on international tech giants like Google and Facebook under Vestager’s stewardship, the Russian energy giant Gazprom has now been added as the latest feather in […]

Online platforms and refusal to deal – Unlockd vs. Google – a seminal case in the making?

The recent standoff between advertisement application developer Unlockd and Google, concerning the removal of Unlockd from the Google Play Store and AdMob marketplace, may turn out to be one of the most important competition law cases of the year. This case, which will likely require a competition law review of Google’s terms and conditions for these platforms, provides the opportunity […]

Price discrimination and abuse of dominance – MEO Case C-525/16

The recent case of MEO delivers a meaningful clarification concerning the importance of an effects analysis in the case of art. 102 (c) TFEU. While not providing an ultimate solution for all comparable future cases, the CJEU in this case clearly indicates that term ‘competitive disadvantage’ constitutes an independent element of art. 102 (c) TFEU that requires proof. Background to […]

Online platforms and abuse of dominance – the case of Funda Real Estate

The application of EU competition law to online platforms has been subject to much debate in the course of the past two years. The EU Commission and several national competition law authorities have launched multiple studies in order to identify the possible challenges in this context and establish an action plan. The distinguishing characteristics of online platforms including: the reliance […]

The EU Commission’s Qualcomm decision – does it take two to tango?

In its latest strike against anti-competitive behaviour in the tech industry, the EU Commission has fined the US chipset manufacturer Qualcomm over 997 million Euros for imposing an exclusive purchasing obligation on one of its major customers and preventing competitors’ access to the market for baseband chipsets. This blogpost gives a brief overview of the decision based on the Commission’s […]
Anja Naumann

Blog Editor

Graduate Teaching Associate, Queen Mary University, London

>> Anja’s CoRe Blog posts >>

Daniel Mandrescu

Blog editor

Ph.D. Fellow, Europa Institute, Leiden University

>> Daniel’s CoRe blog posts >>

Friso Bostoen

Blog Editor

Ph.D. Researcher and Teaching Assistant, KU Leuven

>> Friso’s CoRe Blog posts >>

Picture Kiran Desai
Kiran Desai

Digest Editor

Partner, EU Competition Law Leader, EY Law, Brussels

>> Kiran’s CoRe Blog Case Digests >>

Picture Rita Paukste
Rita Paukste

Blog Editor

Senior Associate, Motieka & Audzevicius PLP, Vilnius

>> Rita’s CoRe Blog posts >>

- Article 102 TFEU ×

Epic v Apple (2): market power and foreclosure in the app distribution market(s)

Epic, Fortnite, Apple, battle royale, competition law, antitrust, district court, monopolization, monopoly, essential facilities, refusal to supply, tying, abuse of dominance
Epic’s battle against Apple has been extensively covered in media in the past month. This attention is undoubtedly due to Epic’s explicit move against Apple’s terms and conditions as well as Apple’s fierce reaction to cut all ties with Epic. Epic’s legal dispute is, however, not only against Apple but also against Google who has removed Epic from its Play […]

Epic v Apple (1): introducing antitrust’s latest Big Tech battle royale

Epic, Fortnite, Apple, battle royale, competition law, antitrust, district court, monopolization, monopoly, essential facilities, refusal to supply, tying, abuse of dominance
Mid-August 2020, a series of events unfolded in a short period of time. They may prove a watershed moment for the role of antitrust in regulating digital markets. It started when gamers playing Fortnite on their iPhone were suddenly faced with a new choice screen when buying in-app currency: What changed is that Epic, the developer of Fortnite, introduced an […]

Slack v. Microsoft – more than just another tying case

The recent wave of claims against digital giants appears to have completed a circle with Slack’s recent claim against Microsoft for allegedly abusing its dominant position by tying Microsoft Teams to the Office 365 software package. One cannot deny the resemblance between this claim and the previous tying cases Microsoft had faced, however, upon closer look Slack’s claim is much […]

Re-imagining the Abuse of Economic Dependence in a Digital World

Mobile apps image
As proven by the recent consultation on the Digital Services Act, the European Union is actively pursuing new solutions to cope with the challenges posed by digitalization. This post proposes a new approach to conducts taking place in the context of online commercial relationships, such as refusals to access platforms or datasets. Namely, it suggests that the European legislator should […]

Corona and EU economic law: Antitrust (Articles 101 and 102 TFEU)

By Friso Bostoen and Liesbet Van Acker As the corona pandemic instils more and more fear in the population, some of its economic effects are immediately noticeable. Two items—hand sanitizer and facemasks—have been in particularly high demand (and short supply). This has driven prices up to a level where one may wonder whether they are abusive in the sense of […]

Lessons and questions from Google Android- Part 2 – Tying in two-sided markets, anti-competitive effects and extra-territorial remedies

Android with cookies
The very lengthy and complex Google Android decision provides us with lots of material for discussion. In the first part of this discussion the matter of the definition of the relevant market was addressed. Although it may appear that this is the only key issue in the case, the decision covers several other issues, which deserve equal (if not more) attention. […]

Amazon cases on the move: Bundeskartellamt closes proceedings while European Commission opens formal investigation

online shopping cartoon
The 17th of July has been quite the day for Amazon, at least when it comes to antitrust. Firstly, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt) has closed its abuse of dominance proceedings against Amazon in return for concessions from the online marketplace. Secondly, the European Commission announced that it was opening a formal investigation into possible anti-competitive conduct by Amazon. This blog post takes a closer […]

Abuse of relative dominance in the platform economy: a French court finds Amazon’s contracts with third-party sellers significantly imbalanced

Two years ago (before Amazon became entangled in a patchwork of investigations by competition authorities), Reuters reported: ‘France files complaint against Amazon for abuse of dominant position’. The news report did not garner a lot of attention. More surprisingly, neither did the recent judgment of the Paris Commercial Court on the complaint. As the judgment offers insight into several pressing questions presented by platform competition […]

‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’: when does copying your competitor’s product become anticompetitive?

same sneakers with different price
‘We have reached “peak cloning” in Silicon Valley’, read a recent tweet by Jeff Morris Jr. (Tinder’s director of product). ‘There are no rules anymore’, the author continued, ‘if you build a product that works, Amazon or Facebook will copy it.’ The tweet was prompted by the apparent copying by Amazon of Allbirds. Allbirds is a brand famous for its merino wool […]

Ex-ante competition law enforcement and online platforms – a tool with no (clear) instructions

wood working tools
The interest of national competition authorities in the matter of online platforms and competition law is becoming increasingly visible. In the case of the Dutch competition authority this growing interest has recently resulted in a call for introducing ex-ante enforcement tools in the context of online platforms. Although the idea may indeed be constructive for the adaption of the current […]

Is there hope for competition in the rail sector?

The blocking of the Siemens-Alstom merger reminded everyone of the ‘pros and cons’ arguments in the debate on the liberalisation and competition in network industries. Despite the EU actions to liberalise rail markets and open them to competition, the issues relevant to incumbents who own both the rail infrastructure and freight operations are still at present. Several years ago the Commission imposed […]

The return of the MFN clauses – platform ranking as an enforcement mechanism for price parity

The MFN cases of the past few years have delivered a series of uncoordinated cases that created a fragmented approach towards MFN clauses. Nowadays it would appear that there is a growing consensus in Europe that wide MFN clauses should be prohibited which, also led major platform like Expedia to abandon these pricing strategies. The recent claim put forward by […]

App stores and (potential) abuses of dominance – an opportunity to reshape competition law enforcement in digital markets

smartphone menu
During the past few weeks the number of complaints against Apple’s practices concerning the App Store has not gone unnoticed. While previous complaints by unhappy developers were perceived as isolated cases it would seem that now the flood gates have been opened, and the stream is primarily targeting Apple. In Europe, this development has been given quite some media coverage […]

2018:270 MEO – Serviços de Comuniçações e Multimédia SA v Autoridade da Concorrência

old phone
  Court Court of Justice Date of ruling 19 April 2018 Case name (short version) MEO – Serviços de Comuniçações e Multimédia SA v Autoridade da Concorrência Case Citation C-525/16 ECLI:EU:C:2018:270 Key words Reference for a preliminary ruling — Competition — Abuse of dominant position — Subparagraph (c) of the second paragraph of Article 102 TFEU — Concept of ‘competitive […]

Business users vs. platforms – a (not entirely) new battle frontier

The recent complaint of Spotify against Apple is yet another case concerning the contractual relationship between online platforms and their business users that appear to arise quite often these days. In the context of these cases the business users of online platforms claim to be subject to undesired practices such discriminatory treatment and unreasonable pricing. The essence of most of these complaints […]

When competition law met data protection: the Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 6th, the German Competition Authority (Bundeskartellamt or BKA) adopted its long-awaited Facebook decision, imposing far-reaching restrictions on how the social network can collect and process user data. This decision follows a preliminary assessment that the BKA published in December 2017, which this blog discussed at length. The BKA’s decision—as set out in a case summary and background paper—sticks closely to its preliminary assessment. In this blog post, […]

2018:854 Apple Sales International and Others MJA

  Court Court of Justice Date of ruling 24 October 2018 Case name (short version) Apple Sales International and Others MJA Case Citation ECLI:EU:C:2018:854 C-595/17 Key words Reference for a preliminary ruling — Area of freedom, security and justice — Jurisdiction in civil and commercial matters — Regulation (EC) No 44/2001 — Article 23 — Jurisdiction clause in a distribution […]

It’s raining Amazon probes: the Bundeskartellamt joins the Commission in investigating the tech giant’s marketplace practices

The investigation On 29 November 2018, the German competition authority (Bundeskartellamt) announced an investigation into Amazon’s business terms and practices on its German marketplace. The Bundeskartellamt’s president commented: Amazon is the largest online retailer and operates by far the largest online marketplace in Germany. Many retailers and manufacturers depend on the reach of Amazon’s marketplace for their online sales. Amazon functions as […]

New momentum for abandoning the 50+1 rule of the German Bundesliga?

Have you recovered from the World Cup yet? Whether or not, it is now time to focus on the national football leagues again and support the football club of your choice (for better or worse). With regard to the German Bundesliga, the old issue of club-ownership has come back into focus over the summer when the Deutsche Fußball Liga (‘DFL’ […]

The Commission’s Android decision: Google cements its dominance in search… to the benefit of consumers?

Last week’s Commission decision on Google’s Android operating system made for great headlines. On top of the eye-watering fine of €4.3 billion, it even had the dubious honour of eliciting a presidential tweet. It was the kind of decision that sparked extensive papers long before its adoption, and a barrage of commentary immediately afterwards. Now that the dust has settled, […]

The Commission’s Gazprom decision – an environmentally relevant demonstration of the Commission’s power

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager is making a name for herself as the Commissioner who really takes on the ‘big whales’ of international corporations and holds them accountable to EU competition law. After the Commission took on international tech giants like Google and Facebook under Vestager’s stewardship, the Russian energy giant Gazprom has now been added as the latest feather in […]

Online platforms and refusal to deal – Unlockd vs. Google – a seminal case in the making?

The recent standoff between advertisement application developer Unlockd and Google, concerning the removal of Unlockd from the Google Play Store and AdMob marketplace, may turn out to be one of the most important competition law cases of the year. This case, which will likely require a competition law review of Google’s terms and conditions for these platforms, provides the opportunity […]

Price discrimination and abuse of dominance – MEO Case C-525/16

The recent case of MEO delivers a meaningful clarification concerning the importance of an effects analysis in the case of art. 102 (c) TFEU. While not providing an ultimate solution for all comparable future cases, the CJEU in this case clearly indicates that term ‘competitive disadvantage’ constitutes an independent element of art. 102 (c) TFEU that requires proof. Background to […]

Online platforms and abuse of dominance – the case of Funda Real Estate

The application of EU competition law to online platforms has been subject to much debate in the course of the past two years. The EU Commission and several national competition law authorities have launched multiple studies in order to identify the possible challenges in this context and establish an action plan. The distinguishing characteristics of online platforms including: the reliance […]

The EU Commission’s Qualcomm decision – does it take two to tango?

In its latest strike against anti-competitive behaviour in the tech industry, the EU Commission has fined the US chipset manufacturer Qualcomm over 997 million Euros for imposing an exclusive purchasing obligation on one of its major customers and preventing competitors’ access to the market for baseband chipsets. This blogpost gives a brief overview of the decision based on the Commission’s […]

Do you want to share your analysis of a competition or regulatory law topic with the readers of the CoRe Blog? We invite you to submit your post on, for example: recent European, national or international judgments or legislation with relevance to EU competition law; new developments, publications, hot topics in EU competition law. The recommended length of the post is 500-2,000 words incl. references (endnotes). Your analysis will be published under the category ‘Feature’.

Here’s how you can publish a post on the CoRe Blog as a guest author:

Step 1: Submit your draft post as a Word file to coreblog[at]lexxion.eu.

Step 2: The CoRe Blog editors will review your draft to make sure its content and quality fit the blog. If needed, they will suggest what improvements you should make.

Step 3: Once your draft has been finalized and accepted, the editors will send you link to register and log-in to the CoRe Blog as guest author.

Step 4: Once you have logged-in to the blog, you can upload and publish your post.

Step 5: Enjoy the fame!

Note: If you want to write on a topic related to EU State aid law, please make the post on Lexxion’s dedicated blog State Aid Hub.

 

Submit your guest blog post

If you are interested, please use our Newletter to stay informed about our upcoming conferences, workshops, trainings and current published journals in our core areas of EU competition, data protection, substances and environmental law, as well as exciting new projects in emerging technologies and digitalisation.

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