Bundeskartellamt’s Facebook decision

On February 8, 2019, the BKartA decided that Facebook’s practice to collect and combine user data from third-party websites/apps, including from Facebook-owned services What’sApp and Instagram, without requesting user consent is an abuse of dominance.  It ordered Facebook to terminate the infringement, as well as to suggest solutions for an opt-out system, so that users refusing consent can continue using Facebook (and can only be subject to very restricted data collection and combination).  This is a far-reaching decision and aims right at Facebook’s business model.  Silke Heinz comments on the decision in Global Competition Review, see here.

She has also published a blog on the decision on Kluwer Competition Law Blog, see here.

Bundeskartellamt said to oppose Siemens/Alstom merger

Based on media reports, the Bundeskartellamt sent a letter to the European Commission opposing the planned merger, including with respect to the commitments the parties have offered.  Silke Heinz is quoted on this in Global Competition Review, inter alia on the national competition authorities only having an advisory role in European Commission’s merger control proceedings.  While they are heard, they cannot veto any Commission merger decisions.  You can find the article here.

German Ministry for Economics publishes study on modernizing the competition rules on unilateral conduct of companies with market power (2)

We have already featured the release of this report of September 4, 2018, dealing with the digital economy in our news section, see here [Link zur früheren Meldung auf unserer Webseite).  In the meantime, Silke Heinz has summarized the 187 page report and analyzed some of the key messages it provides in a Kluwer Competition Law Blog, see here.

She comments on some of the proposed legislative changes, including the prohibition of unjustified prevention of multihoming and platform switching absent dominance and relative market power in markets characterized by high network effects and prone to tipping, and the changes to merger control rules to allow to prohibit large digital companies systematically buying start-ups as potential future rivals at an early stage of their development.