The Archives

Everything written by Dirk Auer on law, economics, and more

AI Partnerships and Competition: Much Ado About Nothing?

Competition policymakers around the world have been expressing concerns about competition in emerging artificial-intelligence (AI) industries, with some taking steps to investigate them further. These fears are notably fueled by a sense that incumbent (albeit, in adjacent markets) digital platforms may use strategic partnerships with AI firms to stave off competition from this fast-growing field. ... AI Partnerships and Competition: Much Ado About Nothing?

The Future of the DMA: Judge Dredd or Juror 8?

When it was passed into law, the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) was heralded by supporters as a key step toward fairness and contestability in online markets. It has unfortunately become increasingly clear that reality might not live up to those expectations. Indeed, there is mounting evidence that European consumers’ online experiences have been ... The Future of the DMA: Judge Dredd or Juror 8?

The Broken Promises of Europe’s Digital Regulation

If you live in Europe, you may have noticed issues with some familiar online services. From consent forms to reduced functionality and new fees, there is a sense that platforms like Amazon, Google, Meta, and Apple are changing the way they do business.  Many of these changes are the result of a new European regulation ... The Broken Promises of Europe’s Digital Regulation

Goodbye Margrethe, Hello Didier: What Next for European Competition Law?

European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager announced Sept. 5 that she was leaving her position after nearly a decade in charge, which for the last four years has also included holding the title of “executive vice president of the European Commission for a Europe fit for the Digital Age.” Her departure caps off an uncharacteristically ... Goodbye Margrethe, Hello Didier: What Next for European Competition Law?

Enforcing the DMA is Easier Said Than Done: Evidence From the Commission’s Draft Template for DMA Compliance Reports

The European Commission early last month published its draft template for DMA-compliance reports. This is the document that gatekeepers will periodically need to fill out, and which subsequently will be used to determine whether they comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA).  The draft template is a missed opportunity to clarify some of ... Enforcing the DMA is Easier Said Than Done: Evidence From the Commission’s Draft Template for DMA Compliance Reports

If the UK Wants to Remain a Tech Leader, It Needs Less Regulation, Not More

Brexit was supposed to free the United Kingdom from Brussels’ heavy-handed regulation and red tape. But dreams of a Singapore-on-the-Thames are slowly giving way to ill-considered regulation that threatens to erode Britain’s position as one of the world’s leading tech hubs. The UK Competition and Markets Authority’s recent decision to block the merger of Microsoft ... If the UK Wants to Remain a Tech Leader, It Needs Less Regulation, Not More

Killer Acquisition or Leveling Up: The Use of Mergers to Enter Adjacent Markets

In the world of video games, the process by which players train themselves or their characters in order to overcome a difficult “boss battle” is called “leveling up.” I find that the phrase also serves as a useful metaphor in the context of corporate mergers. Here, “leveling up” can be thought of as acquiring another ... Killer Acquisition or Leveling Up: The Use of Mergers to Enter Adjacent Markets

Brussels Effect or Brussels Defect: Digital Regulation in Emerging Markets

The blistering pace at which the European Union put forward and adopted the Digital Markets Act (DMA) has attracted the attention of legislators across the globe. In its wake, countries such as South Africa, India, Brazil, and Turkey have all contemplated digital-market regulations inspired by the DMA (and other models of regulation, such as the ... Brussels Effect or Brussels Defect: Digital Regulation in Emerging Markets

Lina Khan’s Christmas Wish Is To Have Margrethe Vestager’s Powers

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan has just sent her holiday wishlist to Santa Claus. It comes in the form of a policy statement on unfair methods of competition (UMC) that the FTC approved last week by a 3-1 vote. If there’s anything to be gleaned from the document, it’s that Khan and the ... Lina Khan’s Christmas Wish Is To Have Margrethe Vestager’s Powers

Antitrust’s Uncertain Future Roundup: The Minority Report

[TOTM: The following is part of a digital symposium by TOTM guests and authors on Antitrust’s Uncertain Future: Visions of Competition in the New Regulatory Landscape. Information on the authors and the entire series of posts is available here.] Philip K Dick’s novella “The Minority Report” describes a futuristic world without crime. This state of the ... Antitrust’s Uncertain Future Roundup: The Minority Report

The Woman in the High Office

May 2007, Palo Alto The California sun shone warmly on Eric Schmidt’s face as he stepped out of his car and made his way to have dinner at Madera, a chic Palo Alto restaurant. Dining out was a welcome distraction from the endless succession of strategy meetings with the nitpickers of the law department, which ... The Woman in the High Office

Attention Markets: They Know Them When they See Them

A raft of progressive scholars in recent years have argued that antitrust law remains blind to the emergence of so-called “attention markets,” in which firms compete by converting user attention into advertising revenue. This blindness, the scholars argue, has caused antitrust enforcers to clear harmful mergers in these industries. It certainly appears the argument is ... Attention Markets: They Know Them When they See Them