Australian Watchdog Is Concerned Over Turnitin-Ouriginal Deal

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns Thursday, September 9, about Turnitin’s proposed acquisition of Ouriginal. Turnitin first announced its intent to acquire Ouriginal in March 2021.

Turnitin and Ouriginal are anti-plagiarism software vendors that largely provide their services to higher education consumers, such as educational institutions. They are two of only three companies that supply such software to Australian universities.

ACCC Commissioner Stephen Ridgeley said, “Ouriginal, which is a large supplier in Europe, has far fewer customers in Australia than Turnitin. However, it is one of Turnitin’s only competitors in the higher education sector and may develop into an important competitive constraint on Turnitin.”

The ACCC said in its statement of issues that the proposed acquisition may significantly diminish competition in the anti-plagiarism software market, resulting in increased prices. Furthermore, the ACC is concerned that the proposed acquisition would result in a reduction in worldwide innovation, which will lead to lower product innovation and quality for the Australian higher education segment. Notably, the UK Competition and Markets Authority approved Turnitin’s proposed acquisition in July.

While the ACCC is evaluating if other international software companies may enter and/or expand within Australia to compete with Turnitin, it is concerned about the barriers to such entry. The ACCC has invited submission from all the stakeholders concerned and it intends to take a final decision by November.

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