Due to their global economic significance and their attitude to concentrating economic power, digital platforms have triggered an unprecedented competition policy debate, fragmented and multi-faceted in terms of both actual problems and potential solutions. Doubts concern whether “self-preferencing” behaviors constitute a new self-standing theory of antitrust liability; and, whether this being the case, what “legal standard” should be used to pursue self-preferencing theories. This paper turns the spotlight on these crucial issues. Additionally, the paper considers the digital platforms’ regulatory interventions recently announced, evaluates their relationship alongside competition rules and argues that the new regulatory framework, including the introduction of new competition tools, may significantly affect the assessment of conduct by digital platforms, even abuse of dominance cases.

By Alessandra Tonazzi & Gabriele Carovano1

 

I. INTRODUCTION

Digital platforms have taken the spotlight in the competition policy debate due to their significance to the global economy and their attitude to concentrating economic power.

Due to the roles of big data, network effects, economies of scope and scale, etc., digital platforms tend to be self-reinforcing, and to lead to winner-takes-all or winner-takes-most scenarios. Because of these features, digital platforms, in addition to catching the attention of many academics, governments, and regulators worldwide,

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