Cristina Caffarra, Fiona Scott Morton, 05 January 2021

The European Commission has finally issued the proposed Digital Markets Act, its bid to complement antitrust intervention in digital markets with ex-ante regulation in the form of a set of obligations that platforms identified as “gatekeepers” should abide by. This column argues that the current proposal makes good progress, but lacks the translation tools to map the rules from the settings that inspired them to other businesses that are deemed gatekeepers, that the rules may not do enough to recognise the direct consumer harm that flows from the exploitation of data and the extraction and appropriation of consumer value, and that merger control remains a significant lacuna in the Commission’s digital regime that will need to be addressed separately. In contrast, the UK CMA proposals condition the rules on business models and fold merger control into the digital regime. 

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