Recently, Google and Apple have changed their policy for targeted online advertising. Privacy-conscious users have been switching to alternatives for years, however, completely avoiding being tracked by online tech giants is virtually impossible. Nevertheless, the online ad industry has grown tremendously in the last decade, and targeted behavioural advertising has become ubiquitous in the online…

On 24 March 2021 the Higher Regional Court (‘Oberlandesgericht’) of Düsseldorf put yet another twist to the ‘Facebook Saga’. Although the formal written submission is not yet available, the Düsseldorf closed the hearing by staying the proceedings and announcing the referral to the CJEU of questions on data protection law.   Pricing Guns To be…

With the adoption of the 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition (ARC, ‘Gesetz gegen Wettbewerbsbeschränkungen’) on 14.01.2021 by the German Parliament (’Bundestag’), the curtain will lower on an antitrust opera [previously reported by Silke Heinz here]: ‘The Abduction from (not the Seraglio) the Düsseldorf Court of Appeals’.   Overture For the following,…

The antitrust watchdog of India recently in Harshita Chawla v Whatsapp and Facebook[1] held that Whatsapp’s proposed model of integrating its payments app called ‘Whatsapp Pay’ (‘WPay’) within its messaging app is not anti-competitive since it does not constitute ‘tying in’ due to lack of coercion. In reaching such a conclusion the Competition Commission of…

The Court order of 29 October 2020 struck by the President of the General Court in a dispute between Facebook and the European Commission is probably the first time in a while where the essence of a case against one of the Big Tech firms lies not in what those companies are (or are not)…

In the context of ongoing antitrust investigations into Facebook Inc.’s (‘Facebook’) data-related practices (AT.40628) and Facebook marketplace (AT.40684), on 13 March 2020 the European Commission (‘Commission’) issued two formal requests for information (‘RFIs’), requiring the company to produce a large number of internal documents. Facebook challenged the RFIs before the General Court of the European…

Introduction Most Competition Authorities the world-over that are involved in ex-ante or ex-post merger review process use tools that are in some way universally accepted. This is because these tools have been developed and tested over time. Some of these tools include the merger notification thresholds for determining nexus, the market definition tools to determine…

On February 7, 2019, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) issued its long-awaited decision in the Facebook case, see press release and background paper in English here. It qualifies Facebook’s current practice of collecting and matching data of its users from third-party services/websites, including on What’sApp and Instagram, without explicit consent as an abuse of dominance.  Facebook…

On December 19, 2017, the Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) published a press release on its preliminary assessment in the ongoing Facebook dominance probe, accompanied by a background paper (available in English here). The FCO considers that Facebook abuses its dominant position through imposing unfair general terms and conditions (“t&cs”). The published materials provide some interesting…

“Hope Smiles from the threshold of the year to come, Whispering ‘it will be happier’…” Introduction This quote from Alfred, Lord Tennyson might – I sincerely hope after recent events – be applicable to life generally in Brussels in 2017. But not so – I fear – in the world of EU merger control. It…