Germany plans to strengthen competition powers
Germany, seeking to rein in internet giants like Google and Facebook, plans to bolster the powers of its competition watchdog to prevent such companies from becoming monopolies even before they achieve scale, reports Reuters. The initiative could include blocking big players from taking over smaller rivals and follows up on a pledge by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition to curb big US internet companies which, in the eyes of many German lawmakers, have become too powerful. “My goal is to make our competition law more effective,” said Economy Minister Peter Altmaier. “In doing so we must find the right balance between the growth chances of German and European platforms and preventing the abuse of market power.” A study commissioned by Altmaier calls for the German antitrust regulator to be given powers to act before a company reaches a critical tipping point on the way to becoming a monopoly – something that can happen quickly on the internet due to the way it functions as a network. This could, for example, include cracking down on attempts to prevent multihoming, where a platform company requires its business partners to work exclusively with it, but not with any of its competitors. In a second proposal, the study’s authors argue that the regulator should be able to stop big players from taking over smaller rivals as part of a strategy to sideline competitors. Read more here and see Study (in German).
- Monday, 24 September 2018