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Competition Law

Analysis - debate - current awareness

Field Fisher Waterhouse , 27 FEB 2015

Data monopoly

John Cassels

Partner

Data monopoly
Another week, another arrow fired by the EU Commission in the direction of data rich businesses.

The Head of the EU's Digital Policy Team (Robert Madelin) this week pointed to personal data being a new vehicle for monopolization and that this could warrant "hard intervention". Historically, the market power of companies is assessed by reference to criteria including:

  • Market structure
  • Market share (actual and relative)
  • Barriers to entry
  • Countervailing customer power
  • Market structure
Mr Madelin suggested that the Commission would increasingly look at ownership of data as "another vector for monopoly power".

This coincides with reports that Google is restructuring its European business as a result of the investigations and complaints it is facing across the EU. It seems that in order better to understand and manage its risks (see "How to map regulatory risks") Google has merged its disparate European businesses into one, continent-wide operation. Individual country managers will now report directly to Matt Brittin, who previously headed Google north and western Europe businesses.

If you would like to discuss these issues please do not hesitate to contact John Cassels at john.cassels@fieldfisher.com
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