Do androids dream of exclusivity?

Almost fifty years ago, Philip K. Dick wondered whether androids dreamt of electric sheep as a way of reflecting on robots’ ability to develop feelings and on humankind’s entitlement to doing away with machines showing this dangerous anomaly. Almost thirty years ago, Ridley Scott brought this moral debate to the big screen in a film featuring Harrison Ford ‘retiring’ human-like ‘replicants’. Now, the Commission, as a modern antitrust blade runner, is seeking to ‘retire’ an Android which seems to have developed overambitious feelings.

As a matter of fact, this ambition of Google’s mobile app business gave Vestager a reason not to break with the tradition of giving the technological giant an April shower. One year after the charge sheet on Google Shopping (see ‘Alternativlos!’), Mountain View was hit with a brand new statement of objections focussing on Android. On this occasion, Google was preliminarily suspected of using its operating system to carry out conducts falling within the shabby boxes of tying and exclusive dealing. Continue reading “Do androids dream of exclusivity?”

Alternativlos!

‘Alternativlos!’ The deterministic slogan of the pensée unique in its English version, and proclaimed worst word of 2010 in Goethe’s language for not so different reasons, has been turned by Mathias Döpfner into the war cry of Google’s foes. Indeed, in a letter addressed to Mountain View that has gone down in history of antitrust yellow press, Axel Springer’s Chief Executive Officer came up with an apocryphal theory of harm that the eager EU trustbuster seems to have fallen for. In April 2015, Berlaymont took another shot at the tech leviathan aiming at a business that one would not consider precisely flagship: its comparison shopping service. Continue reading “Alternativlos!”

Actual competition. Going digital and beyond

Over the last two years, during which I really got introduced to the competition law world, I copped onto at least three remarkable things. The first one is that there is a tendency for EU and national trustbusters and judges across the board to grasp at straws by sticking to a stale legal framework that has never been so clearly obsolete as it is now in the digital era. In stark contrast stands the second one, that is, the unprejudiced view that I’ve spotted in many not-always-so-young with the strange habit to think out the box. As a glimmer of hope in this paradoxical picture, the third is the realisation not only that innovative ideas may have more value than we think but also that they can be put forward by the same ‘disruptive’ means that are pushing the outer boundaries of the antitrust tectonic plate. Continue reading “Actual competition. Going digital and beyond”