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New Age Economy, Platform Markets And Challenges For Antitrust Enforcement

Digital markets are an integral part of the economy and have become a critical component of competition law enforcement. These markets have changed rapidly in recent years, with new platforms and business models emerging daily. This paper attempts to appraise recent developments in the context of enforcement by competition authorities, with a focus on two areas: platform markets and challenges faced by regulators during investigations involving digital platforms in India

Overview
Platform markets are unique in a number of ways. They have created new economic opportunities and challenges for antitrust regulators, who must now balance these benefits against the potential anticompetitive effects of platform businesses.

The first area concerns the role played by platforms in facilitating market-based competition among suppliers. In this context, we focus on two types of platforms: online marketplaces (eBay), which facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers; and search engines such as Google that provide consumers with information on products and services they may wish to purchase from other suppliers (eBay).

The second area concerns possible anticompetitive behavior arising from externalities caused by platform business models such as those employed by eBay or Amazon Marketplace sellers who use third-party logistics services to ship their goods directly from China (or elsewhere) without having any direct relationship with those companies offering such services-what economists call "externalities."

Recent competition cases involving digital platforms in India

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been proactive in investigating online platforms and their business practices. In 2016, the CCI initiated investigations into Google's alleged abuse of dominance in the search engine market to stifle competition. The case was closed in 2017 with no findings against Google. In 2018, the CCI opened a similar investigation into Facebook's data-sharing practices with Cambridge Analytica which led to a settlement agreement with Facebook worth $5 billion USD.[2]

In February 2018, Amazon India Limited was accused by local competitor Flipkart Group for unfair trade practices under Section 2(1) read with Section 3(c) read with Section 3(d) read with section 1A(a)(ii) & (iii) of Competition Act 2002.[3]

Indian regulators are no exception

India is a member of the G20 and has signed up to OECD competition guidelines. The country's Competition Commission for India (CCI) is responsible for enforcing those rules, but it cannot do so without cooperation from competing firms in India.

In recent years, CCI has been active in investigating digital platforms-including Facebook, Google and Amazon-for unfair business practices that give them an unfair advantage over competitors or harm consumers by pushing prices down below cost-based levels.

In 2016 alone, CCI conducted investigations into whether Amazon's dominance over e-commerce was harming its rivals; whether Facebook's data collection policies were anti-competitive; how Google used its search engine monopoly power to promote its online shopping service while blocking rival services like Bing's local search results; and whether Uber was abusing its dominant position among ride sharing apps by not compensating drivers fairly when they use their cars as taxis rather than personal vehicles

Platform markets are unique in a number of ways:

  1. First, they are intermediaries: platforms act as two-sided markets to connect buyers and sellers.
  2. Second, they are networked markets: the flow of goods and services across these networks creates an interconnected web that can grow quickly with no central planning or authority required by any single entity.
  3. Third, platforms are dynamic: they change rapidly as new technologies emerge or old ones become obsolete; this often makes it difficult for regulators to keep up with changes in the market landscape (especially when those changes happen quickly).
  4. Fourthly and finally-and most importantly-platforms have shifted from being local monopolies or duopolies (two firms dominating an entire industry) into global networks where multiple players compete with each other on equal footing over time by using their own proprietary algorithms based on previous transactions rather than relying solely upon government laws or regulations enforced through courts at any given moment in time
     

Regulatory and legislative initiatives involving digital platforms

The digital economy is a key area of focus for competition authorities. As the digital economy evolves, it presents new challenges and opportunities that can be used to help businesses compete more effectively. One such challenge involves platform markets, which are defined as markets in which consumers purchase goods or services directly through an intermediary (such as an online retailer). Platforms often provide access to information on pricing, quality and availability; they also allow consumers to compare products before making a purchase decision.

Platforms have become increasingly important because they facilitate transactions between producers and consumers while also allowing companies like Amazon or Airbnb to expand their operations worldwide by providing access to customers from all over the world through their websites. This has led regulators around the globe-including those in Canada-to take action against certain practices associated with these types of platforms (e.g., price discrimination).

Many of these issues require the formulation of new regulatory frameworks.

Many of these issues require the formulation of new regulatory frameworks. The nature of digital platforms is such that they are different from traditional markets in many ways, including:

The number and diversity of users and suppliers is much greater than either group would be in a traditional market. For example, Facebook has 2 billion users who also provide value through their profiles; Airbnb has more than 1 million hosts giving them access to travelers through their properties; Amazon sells billions of products across its website, including books and groceries; Uber connects drivers with riders via smartphone apps or cars with passengers by GPS coordinates (mobile app); eBay facilitates online auctions for collectibles by connecting buyers, sellers and auction houses around the world.

New or amended legal and regulatory framework for digital platforms in India

In India, there are some legal frameworks for digital platforms that have been established in recent years. These include the e-commerce rules under the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000 and payment systems regulations under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007. Additionally, there are several policy frameworks governing digital platform businesses such as data protection laws and net neutrality rules.

In addition to these existing legal and regulatory frameworks, it is also important to note that India's Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) has released its draft data protection law which aims at ensuring privacy rights without inhibiting innovation or creating barriers to startups seeking funding through crowdfunding platforms like Rocket Internet's Sellers or Amazon Seller Services LLC's (ASSL).

Collection and analysis of data in competition investigations related to digital markets

Data collection and analysis are two of the most challenging aspects of competition investigations related to digital markets. The lack of data is one challenge, as it means that antitrust authorities must rely on more subjective measures (e.g., opinion surveys) or simply take their best guess at how consumers perceive an industry based on other factors, such as advertising spending or product sales volume.

In addition, data quality issues may arise when collecting information from online platforms themselves; they may not be able to provide accurate information due to privacy concerns or because they may simply not know the correct answers themselves.

The problem with inaccurate information extends beyond those who collect it; even once it has been collected and analyzed properly there are still potential errors in how it's interpreted by economists or policymakers who use this knowledge for decision-making purposes (i..e., whether something should be banned).

Challenges faced by competition authorities in law enforcement in digital markets in India

Competition authorities have to deal with a large number of issues in digital markets. The number of digital platforms is increasing and they are becoming more powerful than their physical counterparts. This creates an opportunity for companies to cooperate and collude, as well as reduce competition by making it difficult for new entrants into the marketplace.

For example, when Facebook acquired WhatsApp, there were concerns that this would make it too difficult for users who had already downloaded WhatsApp on their mobile phones but wanted access through the Facebook Messenger app as well (see Figure 1).

This paper attempts to appraise recent developments in the context of enforcement by competition authorities, with a focus on two areas.

This paper attempts to appraise recent developments in the context of enforcement by competition authorities, with a focus on two areas. First, it will examine how antitrust authorities have responded to platform markets and platforms since their emergence as an important economic phenomenon. Second, it will analyze whether there are any lessons from these experiences that could be useful for future policy makers and scholars who are interested in creating effective antitrust policies in this new era of digitalization.

The overall objective is not only to provide a comprehensive review about antitrust enforcement over platforms but also to reflect on what kind of challenges may arise when dealing with such issues as potential abuse of dominance or anticompetitive conduct via online marketplaces (for example) so as not only promote competition but also protect consumers from potentially harmful effects caused by monopolistic conditions within these industries."

Conclusion
We believe that the new age economy, platform markets and challenges for antitrust enforcement can be adequately addressed only by a combination of legislative and regulatory initiatives. It is clear from this analysis that these issues require the formulation of new regulatory frameworks based on principles such as competition, consumer protection and data privacy.

In addition, there are many areas where we need to make improvements in competition law enforcement or develop effective remedies to address specific concerns related to platforms such as Google/Facebook or Amazon India.

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