4 Oct 2022
Hi Digital Competition lovers, I am glad to launch a new initiative of weekly sarcastic comments from last week's news in the digital competition world.
DMA technically self-executing
The Digital Markets Act (DMA) imposes rules on digital giants that are "self-executing." The Commission clearly states that they must show how they comply with the rules. This is how the Commission sold the new super competition tool to the legislators. Practitioners and academics warned the Commission that implementing the DMA is far from simple and raises questions that are far, very far, from self-executing rules. Now that the new golden standard will enter into force in a month, the Commission realizes that implementation will not be easy. The Commander in chief of the competition division Vestager thus announced last week that its division is thinking of organizing technical workshops on compliance solutions. The Brussels technocracy that we love.
Call of merger
Microsoft announced in January 2022 that it will acquire Activision—the developer of call of duty—for nothing less than $68.7 billion. Yet, Microsoft officially notified only last week the merger to Vestager for her approval. The deal raises many competition issues in the United Kingdom in the gaming industry, including in the nascent cloud gaming services. However, it is not the first time that Microsoft has acquired firms in the gaming industry. Since its first acquisition in 1987, data from Crunchbase shows that the digital giant has acquired 28 firms, including Minecraft, another popular game. The Commission only reviewed and cleared one merger in a routine phase 1. Will miners meet soldiers?
Guidance to be alive
The Commission will finally use its never use guidance letters to help firms know whether their behaviors might be anti-competitive if the practice raise novel or unresolved questions that have a genuine interest for clarification. The message from the Belgian, Dutch, and Luxembourg competition authorities in an October 2019 joint memorandum to use guidance letters to answer new issues in the digital economy finally arrived at its destination. Google and its wave of novel practices might regret it is too late. Still, this deserves lots of beers. But firms should certainly not drink before sending a request. They should bear in mind that the commission division can use the information submitted to open an antitrust investigation. Born to be dead?
Call for papers
Digital competition lovers, you are welcome to submit short sarcastic articles (800 words max) on the theme "The contribution of competition policy to a fair, green, and digital Europe" in the context of the conference Making Markets Work for People on October 27, 2022. If I can speak to Vestager at the conference, I will present the best article to her.