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Antitrust Paradise

Christophe Carugati

19 Jul 2022

Antitrust is paradise. It is all about money, drugs, and sexy questions. Policymakers offer champagne, lawyers enjoy champagne showers, and economists try to assess the costs of the fun party. Of course, they try to be reasonable. They thus invent puzzling concepts such as fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms—FRAND terms. Philip Marsden, the inventor of the title, will probably agree that licensing it for a virgin mojito is fair and reasonable, but others might agree for a bottle of champagne. Presumably, the Court of Justice will settle for a royal mojito to please everyone. Welcome to antitrust paradise.


Antitrust is sometimes all about money. In the rich GAFAM world, money is always sunny. If you work all night and day to pay the bill, but there is not a single penny left for you, you can go to an antitrust agency. It will ensure that the rich GAFAM world shares part of its revenue with you. The publishers want to pay for news, telcos for the network and all want access to data. Of course, on a FRAND basis. Who is next? Maybe the antitrust academics want to pay for the articles. After all, antitrust is becoming publicly sexy. A significant number of search results on Google are about digital competition. More money, please.


Antitrust is sometimes all about drugs. Antitrust experts are DMA dealers. A substance that is very similar to MDA. It stimulates antitrust discussions about the future of competition in digital markets. But without the hallucinogenic effects of what digital markets will look like in the future. So, they also create section 19a and DMU. The former German version seems to have similar effects, while the latter British version is still in the drug pipeline. The German will probably offer us a currywurst version of the DMA, whereas the British will provide a flat hot beer without bubbles. Who knows? Anyway, it will be a perfect meal for the rich GAFAM world.

Sexy questions

Antitrust is always about sexy questions. Policymakers raise questions that they do not understand. Lawyers and economists love answering with complex notions and equations, while academics raise more questions than answers—I have one comment and three questions, they love to say—A positive feedback loop then occurs, opening the season for fun parties. The champagne flows freely. More money is on the table, and new drugs appear. More fun is coming soon. Everyone speaks about the metaverse. Nobody really understands what it is, but everyone thinks there is already something to do. A paradise for antitrust experts.

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