A competition law perspective: overview of the proposals for digital markets regulation


Pat Treacy and Elisa Lindemann review, from a competition law perspective, the similarities and differences between the three proposals for new regulatory regimes and tools in their latest article on the CLIP Board:

  1. A new competition tool (NCT)
  2. Ex-ante regulation of digital platforms
  3. UK Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) call for digital platform regulation

A major focus of the European Commission in recent years has been on ensuring effective competition in digital markets. For example, the Commission fined Google more than €8 billion since 2017 for breaches of competition law. It took the Commission a long time to bring them to a conclusion, partly because of the difficulties in establishing a credible theory of harm and in dealing with remedies in cases where markets have already ‘tipped’.

This led to the commissioning of various reports on competition law and policy in digital markets, such as the Furman Report on ‘Unlocking Digital Competition’ published by the UK Government in March 2019, and the Commission’s report on ‘Competition Policy in the Digital Era’ released in April 2019 (see “Chancellor’s Spring Statement: Digital Advertising Market Study” and “Is a new framework needed to assess antitrust work?”). The subsequent proposals for new regulatory regimes and tools are largely based on these two reports.

The Commission and the CMA are seeking to address similar issues in relation to digital markets, which they believe cannot be addressed by the current competition law framework with the three tools mentioned  above.

Head to the full article on the CLIP Board for a table providing a high level snap shot of the similarities and differences between the three proposals.