What do haute couture and competition policy have in common? Trends come and go but some things just never go out of fashion. That is most obviously true for haute couture or fashion in general (see, e.g., Oprah’s list of timeless, mistake-proof fashion items) but once in a while some competition policy debates share that very same characteristic. A good example is competition policy and ‘big data’ – a topic that has been à la mode for quite some time and that looks like a strong contender for this year’s main trends.
That at least is the conclusion you could draw when reading a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article referring to Commissioner Vestager’s statements on her having “an open mind” about enforcing competition rules against companies that accumulate large amounts of data. There is of course nothing wrong with keeping an open mind and adapting enforcement to new technological developments, but it’s interesting to see this topic coming on the back of the Commissioner’s previous statements stressing that data is not to be automatically equated with market power. It would probably go too far to take her recent statements as proof for a change of heart but given the Commissioner’s crucial role in enforcement priority-setting, these statements can certainly provide insights into the inner workings of Europe’s highest competition enforcer. MORE »