Ten Things To Know About The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry

August 2019

CPI Oceania Column edited by Sam Sadden (CPI) presents:

Ten Things To Know About The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry By Prof. Caron Beaton-Wells (University of Melbourne)1

On July 26, 2019 the much-anticipated final report of the Australian Competition and

Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) in its Digital Platforms Inquiry (the “Inquiry”) was released (the “Report”).2

This article is an attempt to distil the 619 pages of the Report into ten key take-outs as relate to the findings and recommendations on competition.3 For those who can’t wait, here they are:

  1. Yes, in some respects, it is ground-breaking;
  2. It confirms what we already knew – Google and Facebook are big;
  3. But it also acknowledges their success;
  4. It sings from the international song sheet on substantial market power;
  5. But it rejects break up and proposes to contain power in other ways;
  6. Its central finding is that markets aren’t working;
  7. And it commits to playing the long game on enforcement;
  8. It is cool on regulating for competition;
  9. But it is hot on other regulatory measures;
  10. The work is just getting started.

Before proceeding further, it is important to point out that the Inquiry was not concerned with digital platforms at large. Its Terms of Reference directed the ACCC to study the impact of “digital search engines, social media platforms and other digital content aggregation platforms … on competition in media and advertising services markets.”4 That effectivel…

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