• 05 April 2019
    Modern giants of the Internet shouldn't be looked at with old legal theories designed for an age of infrastructure such as ports and waterways, Jacques Crémer, co-author of an influential report on technology policy, has said.

    The French professor told MLex the "essential-facilities doctrine" was "not appropriate" for dominant data-rich companies, and that they might instead face interoperability requirements to guarantee a "more continuous" flow of data to rivals.

    EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager commissioned Crémer and two other professors — Heike Schweitzer and Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye — to draft a report on how competition enforcement might change to deal with the challenges of technology companies.

    By Lewis Crofts.

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  • 14 March 2019
    Facebook, Google, Amazon and other big technology companies can expect the next European Commission to make changes to tackle the challenges of enforcement in digital markets, the EU's antitrust chief said.

    Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said many problems in online markets would become “a matter of urgency” and that in the remaining months of her mandate, she wanted to “pave the way for changes.”

    While Vestager still harbors hope she will be part of the new EU executive when it takes office in November, she pointed toward work under way to review whether EU law was fit for an age where large companies dominate data markets.

    By Lewis Crofts.

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  • 13 March 2019
    Spotify has complained against Apple to EU antitrust officials, accusing it of restricting competition on its iPhones in favor of its own streaming service, Apple Music.

    The Swedish streaming platform says Apple has abused its “complete control” over the iOS mobile operating system and its App Store to impose unlawful conditions on rivals. It wants to ensure that all users of the App Store — including Apple Music — are “subject to the same set of rules and restrictions.”

    “After trying unsuccessfully to resolve the issues directly with Apple, we’re now requesting that the EU take action to ensure fair competition,” Daniel Ek, the co-founder and CEO of Spotify, said in a statement.

    By Natalie McNelis.

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  • 07 February 2019
    Facebook has abused its market power by making the use of its social network conditional on the collection of user data from multiple sources, the German competition authority said today.

    While Facebook won’t have to pay a fine, it will have to change the way it collects data from users in Germany. The authority said that Facebook can only use data from other sources if it has users' "voluntary consent."

    If consent is not given, "Facebook will have to substantially restrict its collection and combining of data," the authority said. Facebook was ordered to develop plans to make this possible.

    By Matthew Newman.

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  • 26 January 2019
    The president of Qualcomm’s patent-licensing business testified today that the company never threatened to cut off the supply of modem chips to smartphone makers, even those that stopped paying royalties to the chipmaker.

    As Qualcomm’s trial defense against antitrust claims by the Federal Trade Commission continued into the ninth day of the trial, Alex Rogers, the president of Qualcomm Technology Licensing, or QTL, also defended QTL’s long-running practice of licensing its patents based on the value of a full device, rather than charging rates as a percentage of specific components covered by the company’s patents.

    Rogers testified Qualcomm’s policy allows phonemakers to access technology that would otherwise be restricted, by allowing it to be easily incorporated into technology standards. “Basically, everybody in the industry has access to that,” Rogers said during testimony in San Jose, California. Qualcomm also presented video depositions from executives at Ericsson and InterDigital confirming those companies also license at the device level, not the component level.

    By Mike Swift.

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