The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
New Majority Gives F.T.C. a Chance to Push an Aggressive Agenda. The confirmation of a third Democrat to the Federal Trade Commission broke a partisan deadlock at the agency. That’s good news for Lina Khan, the agency’s chair and a Democrat. It is also a test. With the F.T.C.’s new Democratic majority — which came with the confirmation of Alvaro Bedoya, who becomes the fifth commissioner, in a slot that had been vacant since October — Ms. Khan’s allies and critics are watching to see if she pushes forward plans to address corporate power.
Online sales prompt simpler EU antitrust rules for manufacturers, distributors. Rules that govern agreements between manufacturers and distributors have been simplified because of the growth of online sales and the entry of new players such as online marketplaces, EU antitrust regulators said. The rules, called the Verticals Block Exemption Regulation and the Vertical Guidelines, will go into force on June 1 to replace the current set of rules that expire this month. The new rules mean it will be easier for buyers to actively approach customers and for suppliers to set different wholesale prices for online and offline sales by the same distributor in order to incentivize or reward investments.
Meta criticizes German antitrust watchdog’s ‘flawed’ data curb order. Meta Platforms, owner of Facebook, criticized a landmark German antitrust order to curb its data collection as ‘clearly flawed’ and which undermines EU data protection rules. Meta’s criticism of the German antitrust watchdog came after the latter in 2019 said the world’s largest social network had abused its market power by collecting users’ data without their consent and ordered it to stop. The competition enforcer said the data harvest included users’ browsing habits when they visited a website with a Facebook ‘like’ button on it – even if an internet surfer didn’t click on that button.
Edited by Gary J. Malone