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Competition Law in High Technology Industries: Insights for Australia

Martyn Taylor
Competition Law Conference (Sydney, 30 May 2015)
Later published as: Martyn Taylor, 'Media and telecommunications: Competition law and digital disruption – insights for Australia' (2015) 43 ABLR 509

 

Introduction (journal article)

This commentary is the second of a series of two commentaries that considers unique competition issues raised by high technology industries with a particular focus on software-driven digital platforms. The first commentary1 identified global trends and recent developments, particularly in the United States and European Union. The second commentary in this series now applies these conclusions to Australian competition law and identifies a range of insights.

 

Abstract/summary (conference paper)

"Digital disruption is blowing a Schumpeterian gale of creative destruction throughout the global economy. These winds of change are delivering substantial increases in consumer welfare. The glowing glass screen of a smartphone enables us to access the library of all human knowledge. We can order any imaginable good or service; literally at our fingertips.

Yet competition challenges are arising. Firms bearing the brunt of digital disruption are seeking regulatory protection. Those firms riding the winds of change are achieving concerning levels of global market power. Global debate is occurring regarding the extent to which regulatory intervention is appropriate. The resulting level of political concern is partly evidenced by the inclusion of digital technology in Australia’s Harper Competition Review.

This paper considers unique competition issues raised by high technology industries with a particular focus on software-driven digital platforms. This paper argues that Australian competition law strikes an appropriate balance between preserving competition and promoting innovation, but continued prioritisation of high technology markets by Australian regulators and policy-makers is justified. High technology markets are as susceptible to anti-competitive behaviour as any other markets and, in some areas, particularly so.

As part of this analysis, this paper considers global trends and recent developments, particularly in the United States and European Union. In that context, this paper considers how modern competition law is now seeking to address complex questions of dynamic efficiency, innovation markets and cross-border e-commerce. This paper seeks to identify insights for Australian competition law and policy in light of the recent Harper Competition Review. Finally, this paper concludes with a number of observations, including future challenges in regulating digital platforms."

 

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