Competition Law and Big Data
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Competition Law and Big Data

Imposing Access to Information in Digital Markets

Beata Mäihäniemi

In this timely book, Beata Mäihäniemi analyses and evaluates how the characteristics of information as a good, as well as the characteristics of digital platforms, affect the application of competition law in both theory and practice.
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Chapter 10: Contractual restrictions on the portability and management of online search advertising campaigns across Googles AdWords and competing platforms

Beata Mäihäniemi

Abstract

This chapter analyses whether one of the initial concerns in Google Search investigations, that is contractual restrictions on portability, should be considered by the European Commission could indeed be seen as anticompetitive. These restrictions have been rightfully found to reduce consumer welfare by creating artificial switching costs which discourage advertisers using Google’s AdWords from running parallel online search advertising campaigns on competing platforms. The chapter analyses whether contractual restrictions on the portability of campaigns are in fact an abuse of dominance taking into account established theories of harm such as ‘exceptional circumstances’. The chapter concludes that restricting portability and management of online search advertising campaigns could be qualified as deliberately refusing access to interoperability information. It also offers other ways to tackle the issue of portability, such as by the application of the Software Directive and by the application of trade secrecy law.

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