The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has called for a new regime to regulate the online economy, after its digital advertising study found the market power of Google and Facebook is causing substantial harm to “society as a whole”.
The enforcer today asked the UK government to create a digital markets unit and empower it to break up big tech companies and enforce a code of conduct among online platforms to resolve competition concerns in that sector. It did not specify if the new unit should function within an existing body or be created as a new standalone regulator.
The EU enforcer launched a public consultation on its proposed market investigations tool in May. EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager has cited the CMA’s similar power as an efficient way of tackling competition concerns in fast-moving markets.
Euclid Law partner Becket McGrath, who advised a publisher during the UK enforcer’s market study, said it is understandable why the CMA asked the government to introduce a new regulatory regime. Conduct that is not good for competition does not necessarily infringe antitrust law, but it could be addressed through careful, targeted regulation, he said.
Combating concerns related to the market power of big tech requires difficult public policy trade-offs that extend well beyond competition law, McGrath added.
“With all these moving pieces, there has to come a point when the CMA, as an independent and unelected agency, hands over to the government,” he said.
McGrath also questioned if the UK could effectively implement some of the CMA’s proposals without aligning with reforms emerging elsewhere, particularly in the EU. “Solutions need to be closely coordinated – it’s not good for businesses if there is too much divergence,” he warned.
To read the full article on GCR website, click here.
Euclid Law is delighted to announce Becket McGrath has joined the London office as Partner.
Prior to joining the team, Becket one of the founding partners of US firm Cooley’s London office in 2015 and established its Brussels office in 2019. Becket advises clients on all aspects of EU and UK competition law, with an emphasis on defending companies against investigations, distribution issues and merger control.
He advises clients in a broad range of sectors, in particular media, technology and life sciences sectors. He is a leading expert on distribution issues raised by e-commerce, including in the context of selective distribution, and has advised a number of major online retailers and marketplaces on a wide range of strategic competition issues.
He has experience of enforcing UK and EU competition law at a senior level in the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (now the Competition and Markets Authority) and retains good links with enforcement agencies and regulators in the UK and across the EU.
Becket is listed as a ‘thought leader’ in the latest Who’s Who Legal/Global Competition Review directory of leading competition lawyers.
Full press release can be found here.
Inventus and Euclid Law have teamed up to write a series of articles highlighting what companies and their legal and compliance teams need to know about the use of technology in competition law as well as guiding on how to tackle each step and overcome the challenges that come with it.
The second article in the series, “Cross your Techs and Dot your AIs”, written by Rebecca Cronin, Director at Inventus (EMEA) and Marie Leppard, Partner at Euclid Law, explores the use of Artificial Intelligence in the world of compliance. The article will help you navigate through the various technologies available and provides sound and practical advice on how and when to use them.
To read the full article, click here.