The Metaverse, voice assistants, smart automated vehicles, wearables, there are a number of visions of the future, but more important than which, if any, of these comes to pass, is what these different visions of the future have in common. Which is the understanding that controlling what is, in-effect, the next-generation operating system, will deliver an incredibly powerful gatekeeper role that will allow the extraction of huge rents. There is particular scope for harm to potential competition from self-preferencing by these gatekeepers. This short paper sets out the exclusionary concerns and distinguishes those from exploitative concerns that I argue may nevertheless distort and restrict competition by creating a hold-up problem. I explore how these concerns might apply in the Metaverse and other emerging technologies, and argue that applying the type of self-preferencing and interoperability rules that are currently under consideration to these emerging markets will protect potential competition, provide helpful certainty for investors, and help to build an innovative but more decentralized next generation of technologies.

By Chris Pike[1]

 

I. TACKLING HARM TO POTENTIAL COMPETITION FROM SELF-PREFERENCING – NEXT GENERATION GATEKEEPERS

A group of teenage boys take a break from their board game (… Dungeons and Dragons? Risk? Monopoly?) to argue about what the future will look like… none has seen Back to the Future so hoverboards do not feature…

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