The Federal Trade Commission is holding the third session of the Hearings initiative, an event co-sponsored with the Global Antitrust Institute and held at the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia, on October 15-17, 2018.
The three-day event will examine the potential for collusive, exclusionary, and predatory conduct in multi-sided, technology-based platform industries. The sessions will also examine antitrust frameworks for evaluating acquisitions of nascent competitors or occurring in nascent markets, including in the technology and digital marketplace; and the approach to addressing antitrust issues regarding labor markets.
The Commission invites public comment on these issues, including, the questions listed below.
Multi-Sided Platforms (October 15, 16, and 17):
- What are the defining characteristics of multi-sided platforms? Is there a way to distinguish between multi-sided and single-sided businesses? Are any adjustments to antitrust analysis necessary to account for any special characteristics of multi-sided businesses?
- How should the courts and agencies define relevant antitrust markets and measure market power for multi-sided platform businesses?
- What is the relevance of network effects (direct and indirect) in multi-sided platform markets?
- How should the courts and agencies evaluate exclusionary conduct by firms competing in multi-sided platform markets, including predatory pricing, vertical restraints, most-favored nation clauses, and actions to undermine rivals who depend on platform infrastructure?
- Are there unique procompetitive justifications for these types of conduct by firms competing in multi-sided platform markets?
- What is the relevant legal precedent for evaluating antitrust concerns related to multi-sided platform businesses?
The list of speakers on Monday include a welcome from Commissioner Rohit Chopra. Followed by David S. Evans from the Global Economics Group speaking on The Economics of Multi-Sided Platforms. The hearings continue with Catherine Tucker from MIT on Network Effects in Multi-Sided Platforms. The FTC provided a detailed agenda in a PDF which can be accessed HERE.