The Antitrust Week In Review
Here are some of the developments in antitrust news this past week that we found interesting and are following.
EU’s Vestager says scrutiny of competition in metaverse already needed. The metaverse, shared virtual worlds accessible via the Internet, is the next digital market to attract regulatory scrutiny, EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager. The metaverse has come into sharper focus since Facebook changed its name to Meta Platforms two years ago to reflect its bet on the new sector as the successor to the mobile internet. That move has in turn triggered concerns about Meta’s possible dominance.
Senator Warren urges transport regulator to block U.S. railroad deal. Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren has urged a U.S. regulator to reject Canadian Pacific’s $31 billion deal to take control of U.S. railroad Kansas City Southern, saying it would hurt competition, prompt job losses and disrupt service, a letter seen by Reuters showed. The acquisition, which combines the sixth- and seventh-largest U.S. railroads by revenue, was agreed in 2021. The deal has since closed but Kansas City shares were transferred to a trust and the railroad must operate independently until the Surface Transportation Board, which oversees U.S. freight railroads, approves the transaction.
Republican FTC Commissioner Christine Wilson to step down on March 31. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s lone Republican commissioner, Christine Wilson, will step down from her role at the end of March, she said in a letter to President Joe Biden, in which she criticized FTC Chair Lina Khan. In addition, Holly Vedova, head of the agency’s bureau of competition, said she would retire after decades at the agency but did not give a date for her departure, according to a source familiar with her decision. Khan had named Vedova to run the competition bureau in September 2021 as part of her effort to reinvigorate antitrust enforcement.
EU antitrust regulators narrow charges against Apple. EU antitrust regulators narrowed their case against Apple, focusing on its App Store rules that prevent developers from informing users of other purchasing options, while dropping another charge related to in-app payments. The European Commission, which acts as the executive for the 27-country European Union, did not say why it had dropped its case against the iPhone maker for requiring developers to use its own in-app payment system. However, the victory for the U.S. tech giant will be short-lived as a new EU tech law known as the Digital Markets Act, which will apply from May, bans both of the Apple practices investigated by the Commission, with fines of up to 10% of a company’s global turnover for infringements.
Edited by Gary J. Malone