In recent times, self-preferencing by digital platforms has come to the fore. While it is normal for companies to promote their own products over those of their competitors, and, in many cases, this can lead to efficiencies, a dominant company giving preferential treatment to its own products or services in downstream or related markets (self-preferencing) can raise concerns. Given its potential for pro-competitive effects, it remains challenging to identify the exact circumstances in which self-preferencing is anticompetitive. In addition, a number of the concerns raised by self-preferencing may not relate solely to their potential anticompetitive effects. This means that different tools – including, but going beyond competition law – may be used to address problematic self-preferencing practices.

By Pedro Caro de Sousa1

 

I. INTRODUCTION

It is normal for companies to promote their own products over those of their competitors, and, in many cases, this can lead to efficiencies. However, a dominant company giving preferential treatment to its own products or services in downstream or related markets (self-preferencing) can raise concerns. Despite its ingrained flexibility, competition law is limited to addressing behavior that proves anticompetitive in specific circumstances, and is unable to address many other concerns that self-preferencing may give rise to. Even when self-preferencing is anticompetitive, it is important to evaluate whether a regulatory rea

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