On 1 February 2018, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) published a position paper setting out its strategy in relation to market dominance of internet and technology companies. The position paper confirms that the ACM will focus on digital markets and closely monitor developments in this area.
The ACM highlights the following three pillars of its strategy with regard to digital markets:
Invest in knowledge on the functioning of digital markets. The ACM intends to invest in obtaining knowledge on the functioning of digital markets.
Active monitoring of the market. The ACM will continue to closely monitor developments in the market so that it can act in a timely and accurate manner. At the same time, the ACM recognizes that technological innovation in digital markets is important for competitive dynamics, which it does not want to disrupt.
Focus on international and national cooperation. Finally, the ACM will actively cooperate with international and national authorities in this sector. For example, the position paper referred to cooperation with the European Commission in the context of the Google shopping case and the cooperation within the European Competition Network regarding hotel booking sites [see our May 2017 Newsletter]. On a national level, the ACM plans to cooperate with the Dutch Data Protection Authority and the Dutch Media Authority (DMA). In December 2017, for instance, the ACM reported that it had launched a joint study with the DMA into the effects of digitalization on the media landscape.
This position paper reaffirms that digital markets are becoming a core focus of the ACM. So far, however, the ACM has not found any indication of anticompetitive conduct or dominant market power. See, for example, our September 2017 Newsletter on the study by the ACM into the market for online video streaming platforms. It remains to be seen whether there will be an increase in enforcement action in the future.