As the internet has become more and more centralized, more opportunity for anticompetitive gatekeeping behavior has arisen. Yet competition and antitrust law have struggled to keep up, and all around the world, governments are reviewing their legal frameworks to consider what they can do.
Today, Mozilla released a working paper discussing the unique characteristics of digital platforms in the context of competition and offer a new framework to approach future-proof competition policy for the internet. Charting a course focused on a set of proposals distinct from both the status quo and pure structural reform, this paper proposes stronger single-firm conduct enforcement to capture a modern set of harmful gatekeeping behaviors by powerful firms; tougher merger review, particularly for vertical mergers, to weigh the full spectrum of potential competitive harm; and faster agency processes that can be responsive within the rapid market cycles of tech. And across all competition policy making and enforcement, this paper proposes that standards and interoperability be at the center.
The internet’s unique formula for innovation and productive disruption depends on market entry and growth, put at risk as centralized access to data and networks become more and more of an insurmountable advantage. But we can see a light at the end of the silo, if legislators and competition authorities embrace their duty to internet users and modernize their legal and policy frameworks to respond to today’s challenges and to protect the core of what has made the internet such a powerful engine for socioeconomic benefit.