In reading Commissioner Almunia’s latest speech, I thought to myself: did he changed jobs?
Or is he already campaigning for a position as Internal Market Commissioner ahead of the European elections?
I mean half of the speech is devoted to the banking union and other regulatory issues in the banking sector.
I also read Commissioner Almunia’s antepenultiam speech on the digital economy.
And here I thought to myself: some things never change.
In particular, the sticky, erroneous perception that patents are akin to monopoly.
The reasoning is not straightforward. It comes in two stages.
Stage 1. Introduce an exotic concept (here “gatekeeper“):
“We can distinguish different types of gatekeepers in the online world: search engines, patent holders, network operators, and operating systems”.
Stage 2. Equate the new concept with “dominance”:
“One of the priorities of competition control is to ensure that dominant firms and gatekeepers do not abuse their positions”
A reminder: this is nothing new. In 2004, Microsoft had already been labelled a gatekeeper.