An independent review has concluded that tech giants do not face enough competition.
Background: In August 2018, the UK Government launched a review to examine ‘digital competition in the UK’. The review was led by Professor Jason Furman, former Chief Economic Advisor under Barack Obama’s administration in the US.
The findings: On 13 March, the Government published the final report of the review. It finds that tech giants have become ‘increasingly dominant’ and there is a need to open the market up. It concludes that competition is possible with the right policies, in order to tackle the ‘winner-take-all’ tendencies of these markets. The document ends with 20 recommendations across six strategic pillars: to establish a pro-competition digital markets unit; to change approach to merger assessments in digital markets; to strengthen the tools for the competition authority (CMA) against anti-competitive conduct; to monitor the evolution of algorithms to ensure they do not evolve in anticompetitive activity or consumer detriment; to require the CMA to investigate the digital advertising market and examine whether competition is effective; and to engage internationally, encouraging cross-border cooperation between competition authorities.
Next steps: The Government plans to fully respond to the review in Q3 2019, and asked the CMA to start a review of the digital advertising market. The CMA has welcomed the findings of the review, though it said its ability to launch new projects is heavily dependent on the outcome of EU Exit negotiations.