As the world increasingly considers antitrust as a tool for governing and shaping large internet companies, we ask whether traditional antitrust analysis and remedies are well-suited to current regulatory challenges. We examine interoperability as a potential remedy, suggesting that a proper understanding of its objective and outcome is greater diversity of user experience and an increase in user agency rather than direct improvements in more traditional price or access metrics. Regulating interoperability from that perspective will involve practical challenges in balancing effectiveness with clarity of obligation. As a result, new models of co-regulatory governance including extensive engagement from all stakeholders should be explored.

By Chris Riley & James Vasile1

Throughout the early days of the internet ecosystem, antitrust was rarely used as a means of investigating allegations of harm from a single company.2 In the late 2010s, that began to change. In the European Union, antitrust actions were brought against Google,3 Facebook,4 Apple,5 and Amazon;6 followed by the United States with federal and state antitrust suits against both Google7 and Facebook.8 Academic and government studies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the European Union have now led to major legislative proposals: the Judiciary Committee report in the House of Representatives,9 the Final Report of the Competition and Markets Authority in the UK,10 and the EU’s Digital Markets


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