At the end of September, the press reported briefly on the understanding reached between Apple and the European Commission. According to these reports, Apple has agreed to ending two alleged anticompetitive practices in relation to one of its flagship products, the iPhone:  Apple will enable the owners of an iPhone purchased in one EU Member…

More than six years after the case was launched, the General Court rendered its judgment in Case T-279/04, Editions Odile Jacob Sas v. Commission, relating to the appeal against a 2004 decision of the European Commission approving the acquisition by French publisher Lagardère of its rival Vivendi Universal Publishing (“VUP”). The saga begins in 2002,…

It is commonly accepted that, pursuant to the principle of intragroup immunity, Article 101 TFEU cannot catch agreements or concerted practices between entities that belong to the same undertaking. Article 101 TFEU requires coordination between at least two undertakings: everything that happens within a single undertaking simply cannot be covered by Article 101 TFEU. Yet,…

The European Commission is currently preparing new guidelines for the assessment of horizontal cooperation agreements under Article 101 TFEU. A draft was presented for public consultation in May this year and the final version is expected before year’s end. The section on standardisation agreements has been updated in the light of recent experiences (such as…

In two recent decisions, the Commission considered the impact of cooperation agreements that the notifying parties had entered into before the notified transaction and came to two different conclusions. In Iberia/British Airways (decision of 14 July 2010), the Commission was confronted with combined shares of 70-80% for time-sensitive passengers on two city pairs, London-Madrid and…

In a speech delivered last week at the IBA annual competition conference, Commissioner Almunia engaged the audience on the sensitive topic of due process and competition enforcement. Among the reasons justifying his overall satisfaction with the current EU enforcement system, he mentioned the review by the European courts, which forms “an integral part of competition…

An increasing number of voices are claiming that the Commission’s enforcement policy under the ECMR is becoming too lenient. At the end of last year, two Commission officials, Mr. Parplies and Mr. Maier-Rigaud, published a detailed study on the drop in enforcement decisions (prohibitions, approvals with conditions and termination of merger agreements resulting from the…