HomeInsightsCompetition in digital markets: G7 publishes Compendium of approaches


Since 2021 the competition authorities of the G7 countries and four guest competition authorities (Australia, India, South Africa and South Korea) have worked together to discuss their respective approaches to promoting competition in digital markets, identifying commonalities as well as opportunities for cross-fertilisation. The results were published in a Compendium which was updated in 2022 and again in November 2023. Each year, the Compendium provides a high-level overview of current developments in each jurisdiction, including enforcement actions, policy projects, and legislative and regulatory reforms and proposals.

In the overview to the 2023 Compendium, the authors state that competition authorities continue to dedicate an enormous amount of activity to digital markets, and that the level of commonality in the approaches that authorities are taking to address competition concerns remains high. Most agencies have opened investigations, conducted studies, or brought enforcement actions to address concerns about the exercise of market power of platforms e.g. in digital advertising markets, app stores and online marketplaces. These initiatives involve concerns about misuse of data and data aggregation as a barrier to entry, self-preferencing, parity obligations (also known as Most Favoured Nation clauses (MFNs)), non-competes, information exchange or price fixing, abuse of superior bargaining position, the imposition of unfair trading conditions and other conduct. Investigations and enforcement actions are not always limited to the largest tech companies.

Many competition authorities are also grappling with new complex issues such as cloud computing, the role of algorithms and developments and potential challenges of generative AI. In scrutinising mergers and acquisitions, many competition authorities have blocked or remedied deals involving concerns about how the merged entity would use data to entrench market power or mergers involving nascent digital competitors.

The 2023 Compendium reveals that many governments and agencies have introduced or are considering legislative reforms to address competition issues in digital markets. Whilst there are good reasons for these reforms to differ across jurisdictions given local market conditions and existing national frameworks, the authors suggest that regulatory coherence, compatible regimes, and enforcement cooperation will be essential.

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