EU: Vestager announces focus on big data’s competition implications

European Union antitrust regulators are eyeing an increasingly important corporate data.

The EU’s competition chief is zeroing in on the implication to competition of how companies stockpile and use so-called big data, or enormous computer files of customer records, industry statistics and other information. The move diverges starkly from a hands-off approach in the US, where regulators emphasize the benefits big data brings to innovation.

“In some areas, these data are extremely valuable,” Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner for competition, said in an interview. “They can foreclose the market—they can give the parties that have them immense business opportunities that are not available to others.”

At issue for European antitrust regulators is whether companies holding big data, from Alphabet’s Google and Facebook to German car maker BMW AG, can exclude new competitors from markets if they control exclusive information needed to satisfy customers or cut costs. This would impact how the European Commission analyzes mergers and companies’ market power.

Full Content: The Wall Street Journal

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