Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Beach reads 2012

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In order to stand up to our reputation of “competition geeks”, and following our own advice on the usefulness of “reading, not just consulting, competition law books“, both Nicolas and myself included some “professional readings” within our beach-reading-material [I also took some non-competition readings with me (American Pastoral and Soldiers of Salamis) and they were simply excellent, and perhaps a bit more fun…].

I chose to read several network-effects related pieces (which are useful both for my halted PhD research and for my current work). Some of what I read was crap perhaps not so useful (what’s going on with peer reviews these days?), but other pieces were very good. I’ll share some views on them (assuming that you don’t give a damn about what we read, but in the hope that we can help anyone interested on these matters to “sepparate the wheat from the chaff)”.

For instance, I re-read Pierre Larouche’s article “The European Microsoft Case at the Crossroads of Competition Policy and Innovation” and -regardless of whether one agrees with everything that is in it or not- I thought that it is a model of what a serious, balanced, well-though and well-written comment of a Judgment should be like. I also re-read (or read seriously for the first time) a somehow more difficult (given its economic nature and its lenght) but brilliant piece by J. Farrell and P. Klemperer “Competition and Lock-In: Competition with Switching Costs and Network Effects“.  And I read for the first time a paper entitled “Monopolization via Voluntary Network Effects“, by Adi Ayal, that is both original and quite sensible.

Finally, I finished reading Competition Law and Regulation of Technology Markets, by Kevin Coates. In a previous post I said I would write a short review on it here, so here it goes. It may, however, come a bit late, since it’s most likely that you are already familiar with the existence of this work. Anyway….  Kevin Coates has produced a truly excellent book, and one that focuses on what is possibly the most timely subject in worldwide antitrust these days. The book deals with the application of  competition law, intellectual property law, telecoms regulation, and data protectition law “accross the different layers of the value chain, from the underlying technology, through the networks and into services and applications in light of the disciplines“.

The book does a great job in presenting the reader with the particular features of technology industries (e.g. its rapidly evolving and innovation-driven nature, the existence of network effects, the multiplicity and complexity of market relationships or the crucial role of technical compatibility), and, most notably, in addressing the particular challenges that these features pose to antitrust enforcement.

The book’s analysis is lucid, its scope is comprehensive, its language is fresh and lively; it expresses some personal views, but objectively presents all possible sides to every debate. In no other book will you find a comparable coverage of the breadth of technology-related issues covered in this one. In sum, it’s a book that I would’ve loved to write myself, and that I would’ve been proud to write in the way it is written.

P.S. We have asked Kevin to develop in a guest post in Chillin’Competition some of the ideas that we found more interesting. We’ll let him rest for a few days, but we hope to have him here soon.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

22 August 2012 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Book Reviews

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