• Airbnb antitrust case shows Japanese regulators are grasping the nettle of Internet platform issues
    01 November 2018
    The closure of a Japanese antitrust investigation of home-sharing platform Airbnb last month provided a clear demonstration of the country's intensifying clampdown on anticompetitive conduct by global Internet platforms.

    The conclusion of the competition regulator's probe, part of a government-wide effort to rein in platform companies, comes as "disruptive" businesses attempt to navigate a rapidly changing regulatory environment.

    The Japan Fair Trade Commission said in early October that it was ending its probe of Airbnb Ireland UC, and the company's local operation, Airbnb Japan, after the home-sharing platform offered to waive its rights to enforce restrictive clauses in contracts.

    By Sachiko Sakamaki and Toko Sekiguchi.

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  • Google's Android fee draws criticism over compliance with EU antitrust decision
    29 October 2018
    Google's rivals in mobile services are disputing the company’s compliance with a landmark EU antitrust ruling against its Android operating system, MLex has learned.

    Rivals to Google’s primary search function, including Yandex and Qwant, are concerned that the tech giant’s solution will maintain barriers that hinder them from providing services to the 80 percent of European smartphones that run Android. They are urging the European Commission to press Google for further changes, MLex understands.

    Mobile network operators and developers of mobile operating systems are also understood to be skeptical of Google’s offer, which came into effect today.

    By Nicholas Hirst.

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  • SFO's Osofsky to testify on effectiveness of UK bribery laws next month
    18 October 2018
    The UK fraud agency's new chief, Lisa Osofsky, will give evidence on the impact and effectiveness of the country’s bribery laws at a hearing with lawmakers in November.

    Osofsky, who took up the post of director of the Serious Fraud Office in August, will appear before lawmakers scrutinizing the UK’s Bribery Act on Nov. 13, a spokesman for the parliamentary committee scrutinizing the legislation told MLex.

    By Martin Coyle.

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  • Digital advertising faces UK scrutiny under antitrust, consumer laws
    10 October 2018
    The digital advertising industry could face closer competition scrutiny in the UK, with the antitrust regulator “actively considering” a market study into the sector, the watchdog’s boss has said, in a possible warning to US-based technology companies such as Google and Facebook.

    “We are interested in getting involved,” Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the Competition and Markets Authority, told UK lawmakers late on Tuesday. Coscelli was speaking at a Communications Committee hearing of the House of Lords, the UK Parliament’s unelected upper chamber.

    Nevertheless, he said, “before we develop a heavily regulatory framework for the Internet, I think we probably want to see more evidence that there are very enduring, entrenched problems there.”

    By Simon Zekaria.

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  • EU group-claims proposal faces delays as lawmakers fail to agree
    10 October 2018
    A proposal to create an EU-wide framework for group damages claims faces an uphill struggle if it is to be concluded before European Parliament elections next year, after deep divides emerged between lawmakers regarding its purpose and scope.

    Speaking to EU lawmakers today, the European Commission’s Maria-Blanca Rodriguez Galindo said: “We have to take time and to make things right,” though the EU executive still hopes to get the bill adopted before the elections in May 2019.

    A report from the assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs, which will take the lead in establishing the position that EU lawmakers take on the proposal, has been delayed by several weeks as it seeks to reconcile substantial differences between the parliament’s different political groups, as well as between national governments.

    By Michael Acton.

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