Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for May 5th, 2015

The definitive article on two-sided markets, by me

with 3 comments


(1) Economic theories on multi-sided markets are now well established and, in fact, earned Prof. Tirole a Nobel Prize earlier this year; (2) Some of the most prominent ongoing cases, including the two concerning Google, go to the heart of antitrust issues in multi-sided settings; (3) In addition, the EU has been said to intend to regulate “platforms” (see here for a piece including some leaked documents). Not that anyone seems to know what a “platform” is exactly (since when is ignorance an impediment to introduce regulation?), but the Commission’s leaked documents make it clear “multi-sidedness” is what the Commission (or at least Commissioner Oettinger, a champion of smart regulation in the digital single market –like this?-) has in mind (the docs also refer to specific search engines, social networks, application stores and internet payment gateways as the quintessential examples of platforms in alleged need of regulation).

In my view, in spite of all these developments we lawyers have not yet reflected enough on how the application of competition law should be refined in this context.

As you may remember, I gave my views on the subject at the Swedish Competition Authority’s “Pros and Cons conference” (French speakers may think that I was the “con” among the pros, which is probably right….) (the slides are available here).

My speech at this event has now been beefed up and features in the latest issue of the Competition Law Journal, published by Jordan Publishing, at [2015] Comp Law 64; it is available here:

The Double Duality of Two Sided Markets_CLJ_Lamadrid

 [The title of the post was perhaps a bit of an overstatement, but since Chillin’Competition is not (yet) a regulated platform, I thought I could use some self-favouring 😉 ]

And on 4 June the European Commission has (at the behest of the UK’s CMA) very kindly invited me to talk about these issues in Uppsala at the annual gathering of the European Association of Competition Law Judges; it should be fun. The program for that event is available here: AECLJ Uppsala prov programme

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

5 May 2015 at 3:46 pm