Abusing data dominance in the digital market. The application of merger control and article 102 TFEU to data-related conducts.

Ferrari, Federica (2022) Abusing data dominance in the digital market. The application of merger control and article 102 TFEU to data-related conducts., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Diritto europeo, 34 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10280.
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The internet and digital technologies revolutionized the economy. Regulating the digital market has become a priority for the European Union. While promoting innovation and development, EU institutions must assure that the digital market maintains a competitive structure. Among the numerous elements characterizing the digital sector, users’ data are particularly important. Digital services are centered around personal data, the accumulation of which contributed to the centralization of market power in the hands of a few large providers. As a result, data-driven mergers and data-related abuses gained a central role for the purposes of EU antitrust enforcement. In light of these considerations, this work aims at assessing whether EU competition law is well-suited to address data-driven mergers and data-related abuses of dominance. These conducts are of crucial importance to the maintenance of competition in the digital sector, insofar as the accumulation of users’ data constitutes a fundamental competitive advantage. To begin with, part 1 addresses the specific features of the digital market and their impact on the definition of the relevant market and the assessment of dominance by antitrust authorities. Secondly, part 2 analyzes the EU’s case law on data-driven mergers to verify if merger control is well-suited to address these concentrations. Thirdly, part 3 discusses abuses of dominance in the phase of data collection and the legal frameworks applicable to these conducts. Fourthly, part 4 focuses on access to “essential” datasets and the indirect effects of anticompetitive conducts on rivals’ ability to access users’ information. Finally, Part 5 discusses differential pricing practices implemented online and based on personal data. As it will be assessed, the combination of an efficient competition law enforcement and the auspicial adoption of a specific regulation seems to be the best solution to face the challenges raised by “data-related dominance”.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Ferrari, Federica
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
Competition law, Digital market, Data-related abuses of dominance, Article 102 TFEU, Merger control, data-driven mergers
Data di discussione
16 Giugno 2022

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