CMA opens investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox browser changes

The Competition and Markets Authority has just announced it will investigate Google's decision to remove third-party cookies from its Chrome browser in early 2022 and replace them with a set of proposals known as the Privacy Sandbox (NB: Google has justified this decision on privacy). The investigation - under Chapter II of the Competition Act … Continue reading CMA opens investigation into Google’s Privacy Sandbox browser changes

Texas, other US States sue Google for anti-competitive conduct and collusion with Facebook

Last Wednesday, on 16 December 2020, Texas and nine other US States filed an antitrust lawsuit before the District Court for the Eastern District of Texas with respect to Google’s conduct in ad tech (reminder: almost two months earlier the Department of Justice sued Google with respect to its practices in general search; click here … Continue reading Texas, other US States sue Google for anti-competitive conduct and collusion with Facebook

FTC, US States file antitrust lawsuit against Facebook to challenge its “buy-or-bury”, “open-first, closed-later” strategies

Wednesday December 9th, 2020: the US Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") and 48 US States (led by New York State Attorney General Letitia James) filed antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, arguing the tech giant has unlawfully maintained its monopoly power in the market for "Personal Social Networking" in breach of Section 2 of the Sherman Act (see … Continue reading FTC, US States file antitrust lawsuit against Facebook to challenge its “buy-or-bury”, “open-first, closed-later” strategies

New paper on Chrome and the Privacy Sandbox

In an earlier post discussing the fate of targeted advertising, I noted that much of the current debate centers around issues of competition and privacy, and the inevitable trade-offs between them. While personalized advertising promises benefits for publishers and advertisers (and in theory users that value relevant ads), it is under increasing pressure from privacy … Continue reading New paper on Chrome and the Privacy Sandbox

What should be the fate of targeted advertising?

In a video for The New York Times, computer scientist and philosopher Jaron Lanier described online advertising as “the little space in the middle” combining capitalism with the “socialist” concept that Internet content should be free. Now a multi-billion-dollar industry, online advertising is what funds free online content. It is also what has elevated Google … Continue reading What should be the fate of targeted advertising?

How tech platforms act as private regulators of privacy

In an insightful article on AdExchanger, Allison Schiff notes that the ad industry is facing two interrelated "existential threats": government legislation (think of e.g., the GDPR or the CCPA) and policy changes coming from big tech (Google and Apple). But, contrary to what one might initially think, it is the platforms' changes that are the … Continue reading How tech platforms act as private regulators of privacy

New paper on the App Store shows why antitrust intervention is needed

Last April Damien and I published a paper titled "The Antitrust Case Against the Apple App Store," where we explored various concerns raised by Apple's App Store practices under Article 102 TFEU. We focused in particular on the obligation of apps offering "digital goods or services" (think e.g., of a game app) to use Apple's … Continue reading New paper on the App Store shows why antitrust intervention is needed

ACCC to issue report on app marketplaces in March 2021

Saying that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has become quite active in the digital front would be an understatement. After delivering a pioneering report into digital platforms in 2019, it kicked off a five-year inquiry into digital platform services in 2020 and another inquiry in ad tech services (even though one might say we … Continue reading ACCC to issue report on app marketplaces in March 2021

The CMA publishes Final Report on online platforms and digital advertising

Last Wednesday the CMA published its voluminous Final Report on its market study on online platforms and digital advertising, accompanied by 27 (!) detailed Appendices. This is a massive piece of work, and the CMA should be commended for completing it within just one year. The Report examines ad-funded online platforms with a focus on … Continue reading The CMA publishes Final Report on online platforms and digital advertising

EU probes Apple over App Store rules

It is official: the European Commission has opened an investigation into Apple over App Store rules (in parallel, the Commission also launched an investigation into Apple's practices over Apple Pay). The investigation follows a complaint filed by Spotify in March 2019, whereby the music streaming service took issue with Apple's 30% commission levied on in-app … Continue reading EU probes Apple over App Store rules