Over the past years several regulators in Europe have questioned the effectiveness of existing competition rules in digital markets. In recent weeks and months, they have been zooming in on online platforms. Following a study commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate on the possible regulation of digital platforms with gatekeeper positions, which culminated in the " Dutch Position, the European Commission has published the terms of reference for a study on platforms acting as gatekeepers. Shortly afterwards, the French competition authority launched a public consultation on the role of large digital platforms in payment services. All these studies centre around the following questions: Does the current toolbox suffice to ensure effective competition on platforms (as opposed to competition between platforms) or is ex-ante regulation needed to this end? If so, how should such regulation be devised? If not, does the existing toolbox require refinement? In this vein, the Austrian Telecoms Regulatory, with the support of the Austrian competition authority, recently published a paper (in German only) on how to monitor digital platforms, including an assessment toolbox. Stay tuned because the spotlight will not go away any time soon.
Originally published 29 May, 2020
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