Competition Lore Podcast

Competition Lore

Competition in a digital economy is a new frontier.

Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition.

Competition Lore Trailer
Trailer 3 min 20 sec

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If we regulate to protect privacy, do we risk competition? If we regulate to strengthen competition, do we risk innovation? If we regulate to exclude harmful content, do we risk free speech? Over-simplified perhaps, but these are in essence some of the hard questions in tech policy right now, and grappling with such questions from within a tech company must be one of the most challenging jobs there is. In this episode we are joined by Matt Perault, former head of global policy development at Facebook. Matt has looked the challenges squarely in the eye and shares with us how the social network giant has been dealing with them, together with his thoughts on how interactions between stakeholders can affect policy outcomes, for better or worse. It’s a rich and wide ranging conversation that you won’t want to miss.  Matt has now taken on the role as Director of a Center for Science and Technology Policy at Duke University. The Center will act as an interdisciplinary hub for science and technology policy research and bring together stakeholders from the tech industry, government and academia to exchange insights and perspectives on policy development. Here are some of items on which we touched in the episode: Mark Zuckerberg’s recent speech at Georgetown University, Facebook’s Statement on a Privacy-Focused Vision for Social Networking and its White Paper on Data Portability. You can read a recent Opinion piece by Matt in the New York Times here.  His Center is launching a podcast on tech policy, TechKnowledgey, so be sure to take a listen. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Dec 2019

47 min 45 sec

Across developing countries, connectivity through internet access and use, particularly on mobile devices, has vastly improved over the last decade. In large part this is due to the efforts of Big Tech and their strategies of reaching “the next billion users”.  As welcome as such efforts may be, there are risks also for competition as a key driver of economic development and growth. So how have governments and competition authorities in developing countries been responding? In this episode we are joined by Shilpi Battacharya, Associate Professor at Jindal Global University, and Ujjwal Kumar, Policy Advisor at Consumer Unity and Trust Society. We discuss developments in India, a country where the authorities have been on the front foot in grappling with the issues and, as you’ll hear, the responses and outcomes to date have been mixed. Some of the discussion refers to a recent BRICs report on digital era competition.  You can find the report here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Nov 2019

33 min 33 sec

There wouldn’t be too many more prized, and pressured, jobs than as Chief Economist at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Competition, and particularly in recent years when DG Comp has been at the vanguard of developments in antitrust enforcement against Big Tech. Professor Tommaso Valletti has just completed his three year term as DG Comp’s Chief Economist and has much to share about his experience.  In this episode we canvas what it’s like being in the “Brussels bubble”, working with Margrethe Vestager, why he has called himself “Professor Lipstick”, academic capture by Big Tech, charges of political interference in EU competition law enforcement, what the next chapter for DG Comp is likely to hold and much more. Tommaso is also well-known for his tweets and you can follow him on Twitter @TomValletti and/or read his academic work here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Loreis a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Oct 2019

42 min 11 sec

Much of the antitrust discourse nowadays is about personal data and the implications of concentrated digital markets for our privacy.  But, in focussing on data, have we been missing the wood for the trees?  Are we in fact trading our scarce and precious attention for many of the supposedly free services we enjoy online? In this episode our guest, Associate Professor John Newman from the University of Miami, discusses his research on attention markets, why he thinks there are substantial individual and societal costs associated with concentration in these markets and the role for antitrust and regulation in responding to this under-explored problem. The episode was recorded in person at the Melbourne Law School during John’s visit to deliver a keynote on the topic Attention Scarcity, Technology and Law at the Digital Citizens Conference on 24-26 July. You can find John’s academic writing on this and related topics here and you might also dip into his blog.  Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Loreis a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Oct 2019

28 min

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has completed its ground-breaking inquiry into digital platforms. What distinguishes this inquiry from many others is its broad holistic approach to competition, consumer, unfair trading, privacy and public interest issues.  It has a focus on the media and advertising sectors but, if accepted, many of its 23 recommendations will have economy-wide effects. In this episode you will hear from Morag Bond and Kate Reader, the joint general managers of the Inquiry team. We discuss the methods employed for information-gathering in the Inquiry, how hotly contested issues were dealt with and the thinking behind the key conclusions and proposals for reform. You can find the website with all the documents relevant to the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry here. And if you would like to read my short article on ten key take outs from the Final Report, you can find that here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Loreis a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. JoinCaron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Loreis produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Sep 2019

37 min 49 sec

The pervasiveness of platforms in our societies is hard to ignore.  It has wide ranging effects on and implications for our economic, social and cultural practices and lives. Some focus on the dominance of digital platforms as a failing of antitrust and call for an entire overhaul of the intellectual enterprise. Others go further.  One of those is the guest on this episode, Professor Frank Pasquale of the University of Maryland, author of the widely acclaimed book, The Black Box Society: The Secret Algorithms that Control Money and Information. For Frank, the societal concerns raised by platform dominance cannot be dealt with adequately as a matter of economic analysis. Rather, the culture, practices and effects of these companies raise fundamental questions about the type of society we want to live in. In light of this, it behoves us, he argues, to engage in a holistic philosophical inquiry, one that concerns our collective values and is not reduced to the methodological individualism of neoclassical economics. His call to action is a wholesale wresting back of control by the state. This episode was recorded before a live audience at the Melbourne Law School on the occasion of Frank’s visit for the Digital Citizens Conference held 24-26 July. You can read some of Frank’s writing here and his book, The Black Box Society, is available here. You can follow him on Twitter @FrankPasquale. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Sep 2019

43 min 1 sec

The George Stigler Centre at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business has been undertaking a wide ranging study of digital platforms. One aspect of the study has a focus on market structures in digital platform markets and the antitrust implications. Other aspects explore privacy and data protection, media and the political system.  Each of these aspects of the study have been examined by a subcommittee which has produced a report with its key findings and recommendations, to facilitate further discussion and inform policymaking. Our guest in this episode is Professor Fiona Scott-Morton from the Yale School of Management. Fiona chaired the subcommittee focussing on market structures and antitrust.   We discuss the analysis in the report and Fiona shares her views on the antitrust reforms and regulation needed to tackle the challenges posed for competition in digital platform markets. You can find the report here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Aug 2019

40 min 58 sec

Between them GAFA have made more than 400 acquisitions over just the last 10 years. With the benefit of hindsight, many of these acquisitions have been portrayed as strategic or killer acquisitions, designed to snuff out potential or emergent competitive threats. Recognising this, there is a growing view that competition authorities must be more prepared to protect competitive market structures and to do so may require changes in the approach taken to error cost and counterfactual assessments in merger review. In this episode our guest is Dr Paolo Buccirossi, Founder and Director of the economics consultancy, Lear. Lear has undertaken a first-of-its kind report for the UK Competition and Markets Authority involving ex post assessment of a series of mergers in the digital sector that were cleared.  We discuss the report’s key findings and consequent recommendations for future merger practice. The report also reviews the theories of harm typically examined by competition authorities in such cases and considers their consistency with the burgeoning economic literature in this area. While we did not canvas these parts of the report in the episode, they are definitely recommended reading. You can find the Lear report here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2019

36 min 3 sec

If you spend any time reading the US press you will have realised that there’s recently been a potentially dramatic series of developments when it comes to Big Tech antitrust.  Investigations, congressional hearings and even break ups are all on the menu. In this episode our guest is Matt Stoller, Fellow at the Open Markets Institute, a US think-tank on a mission to address threats posed to democracy from monopoly power.  Matt’s daily diet is the politics and policy of antitrust and he guides us through the cast of characters and scripts of recent events, while at the same time sharing his perspective on why we should look at Big Tech issues through an ideological, not just a methodological lens. Matt’s book, Goliath: The 100 Year War Between Monopoly Power and Democracy, will be released in October. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2019

42 min 46 sec

Blockchain is a technology that both bedazzles and bewilders!  For its hard core advocates, it is seen as the answer to the problem of concentrated power on the internet.  For others, its workings are as impenetrable as its implications. In this episode we are joined by Dr Thibault Schrepel, Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University School of Law and Faculty Affiliate at the Harvard Berkman Center, who has made researching and teaching blockchain antitrust his specialty.  We canvas the risks of anti-competitive conduct on blockchain and the challenges it is likely to pose for authorities in enforcing the competition rules. For those who are fairly new to the topic, you may find it useful to listen first to episodes 23 and 24 in which we laid the groundwork for this episode with an explanation of what this technology involves and whether it might pose a threat to Big Tech. You can also find Thibault on his innovative website, Concurrentialiste, or follow him on Twitter @LeConcurrential, and I highly recommend his recent blockchain papers: Is Blockchain the death of Antitrust Law? The Blockchain Antitrust Paradox, 2018 Collusion by Blockchain and Smart Contracts, 2019 Antitrust Without Romance, 2019 Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2019

28 min 35 sec

Digitalisation has transformed the advertising industry.  Not only are advertisers now able to target consumers to a far greater extent than was possible with traditional advertising, but they are also able to track and assess the performance of their ads in ways previously unimaginable. What makes this all possible is the treasure trove of data that we, as consumers, generate with our inexhaustible digital footprints. But does it necessarily mean that the firms with the largest data-sets hold substantial power in advertising markets? That is a question being studied by policymakers and competition authorities around the world and it’s one on which minds clearly differ. In this episode we are joined by Catherine Tucker, Professor of Management Science and Marketing at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  Catherine shares her insights from years of empirical research into advertising and the tools and techniques that make it effective.  The diagram depicting the complex digital advertising eco-system to which Catherine refers in the episode can be found here, and if you would like to learn more about Catherine’s research, her publications are on SSRN. Her disclosure statement can be read here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jun 2019

43 min 17 sec

An expert panel appointed by the UK government has recently released its report on changes to competition policy to help unlock the opportunities of the digital economy. One of the co-authors, Professor Philip Marsden, describes it as a “quintessentially British” contribution to the global debate on whether we need adjustments to the law and/or regulation to deal with the competition challenges posed by power in digital markets. As a former enforcer at the UK Competition and Markets Authority, current Deputy Chairman of the Enforcement Decisions Committee of the Bank of England, Member of the Financial Conduct Authority/PSR Competition Decisions Committee and Member of the OFGEM Enforcement Decisions Panel, Philip looks at these issues through both practical and academic lenses.  In the episode he shares the key findings and recommendations of the report and explains why he hopes it will provide the cut-through sorely needed in a noisy and polarized discourse. The report is available here and I also recommend you read Philip’s recent contributions to Competition Policy International: Who Should Trust-Bust? Hippocrates not Hipsters, 2018 Leave, Remain & Common Ground: Pragmatism in Dealing with Tech Giants, 2019 You can also follow Philip on Twitter @drphilipmarsden. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jun 2019

46 min 23 sec

Just over a decade after a financial crisis that shook the world, regulators have worked over time to move the financial system from the brink of chaos back to safe ground. But while the preoccupation has been with financial stability, in many countries, it has not been good news for competition. Technological developments and data innovations have opened up more choice and new ways of banking for consumers. Nevertheless, many see Fintech as falling short of a serious challenge to the traditional incumbents.  In the meantime, governments too have been making concerted moves to empower consumers through open banking initiatives. All this though may pale in comparison to the looming and some might say present threat that Big Tech poses to Big Banking. In this episode our guest is Dr Jorge Padilla, Head of Compass Lexecon Europe and a highly credentialled and respected antitrust economist. Jorge shares his reflections on the state of the global banking industry today and why he regards it as ripe for disruption by the major digital platforms.  We also explore what types of regulatory measures would be required to ensure a level playing field for competition between banks and their new rivals as well as to shore up financial stability. I highly recommend Jorge’s paper on Big Tech Banking which you can read here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

May 2019

44 min 3 sec

The advent of algorithms, machine learning and artificial intelligence have led some to argue that we are living in an age of “mass personalisation”.  While the benefits of these technological advances are largely self-evident, there is a growing chorus of alarm.  Concerns include increased risks of consumer manipulation, discrimination, loss of diversity and ultimately a loss of autonomy or the capacity to choose. Are we being suckered on a scale never seen before and how should consumer laws and regulation respond?  Are there responses that provide adequate consumer protection while at the same time not stifling the competition and innovation from which we all benefit? These questions are explored in this episode with Professor Jeannie Paterson of the University of Melbourne Law School. Jeannie is researching the impact of automation and artificial intelligence on consumer choice and decision-making and is the co-convenor of the University’s Digital Citizens Research Network. If you would like to read her recent think piece on combatting bias and discrimination in AI, you will find it here. In the episode Jeannie refers to research on consumer attitudes towards data collection and sharing conducted by the Consumer Policy Research Centre.  You can read more about the research here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

May 2019

45 min 11 sec

Neither the law nor economics are value-neutral sciences. If we are to understand why and how competition laws operate in a certain way in an individual jurisdiction, we need to understand the underlying values and belief systems that inform and shape its design and enforcement. In this episode, we are joined by Slaughter & May Professor of Competition Law and Director of the Centre for Competition Law and Policy at the University of Oxford, Ariel Ezrachi. Ariel shares his insights on the values that underpin European competition policy and law, the ways in which they inform the pluralistic objectives of the law and affect its enforcement.  In the course of the discussion, not surprisingly, the Bundeskartellamt’s decision in relation to Facebook’s data practices comes up. Here are two of Ariel’s recent papers in which you can read more of his thinking on these issues: EU Competition Law Goals and the Digital Economy, 2018 Sponge, 2016 Other papers by Ariel, many relevant to issues raised by competition in digital markets, can be found here. And I highly recommend his recent book, co-authored with one of our other guests on the podcast, Professor Maurice Stucke (episodes 1 and 5), Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm Driven Economy (HUP, 2016). Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Apr 2019

46 min

In this final (for now) episode in our series on blockchain, we move beyond the economic and legal analysis to consider whether this technology might inform and be part of a broader movement for political and social change. We are joined by Glen Weyl, founder and Chairman of the RadicalxChange Foundation, Principal Researcher at Microsoft and Visiting Research Scholar at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is co-author with Eric Posner of the radical book, Radical Markets: Uprooting Capitalism and Democracy for a Just Society, a blueprint for upending and replacing many of the institutions that underpin our current economic and political systems so as to create a fairer, more equal and more democratic society. In a highly thought provoking discussion, co-hosted with Dr Thibault Schrepel (our guest on episodes 23 and 24), Glen explains some of the core ideas in his writing and relates them to his critique of the current state of the blockchain industry. For Glen, the decentralised vision of blockchain falls far short of the reality. But he sees the vision as valuable nevertheless in inspiring us to think about how distributed data structures and mathematical technologies might be harnessed in re-imagining the type of society in which we want to live. You can find out more about Glen and his work on his website. And here is the joint paper with Vitalik Buterin (Ethereum) referred to in the episode, Liberal Radicalism: A Flexible Design For Philanthropic Matching Funds. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Apr 2019

40 min 46 sec

Blockchain technology and smart contracts hold some promise for reinvigorating competition, providing more efficient and secure ways of doing business on the internet, while at the same time lifting the bar in data protection and privacy. But is this new general purpose technology all that it’s made out to be? Will it challenge the power of the major digital platforms?  And what are the risks that blockchain itself will become concentrated and fall prey to anti-competitive conduct? In this episode, Dr Thibault Schrepel, Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University School of Law, takes on these challenging questions. Much of the discussion assumes a basic understanding of blockchain technology. So for those who are fairly new to the topic, you may find it useful to listen first to our Blockchain primer in episode 23. You can also find Thibault on his innovative website, Concurrentialiste, or follow him on Twitter @LeConcurrential, and I highly recommend his recent blockchain papers: Is Blockchain the death of Antitrust Law? The Blockchain Antitrust Paradox, 2018 Collusion by Blockchain and Smart Contracts, 2019. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mar 2019

24 min 38 sec

Blockchain is not just bitcoin. It’s a general purpose technology that some say has the potential to revolutionise swathes of the economy, creating a new, more efficient, more secure way to exchange information and value. But just as was true of the early days of the internet, a real understanding of blockchain technology eludes many of us, making it difficult to think meaningfully about its promise and its pitfalls. In this episode we are joined by Dr Thibault Schrepel, Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University School of Law. Thibault has made blockchain and its antitrust implications his specialty and in this episode, he walks us through the nuts and bolts of the technology. Having graduated from Blockchain 101, in the next episode, join Thibault and me in a discussion about why blockchain is causing so much excitement but at the same time is likely to pose challenges for competition law enforcement. You can also find Thibault on his innovative website, Concurrentialiste, or follow him on Twitter @LeConcurrential. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mar 2019

26 min 55 sec

Donald Trump’s frequent railings about “fake news” have gone viral, possibly even more so than the so-called “fake news” itself. For some, however, the proliferation of fake news on digital platforms is a serious problem. And many are asking whether it is a problem caused by the power of Facebook and Google over when, where and how we consume news. This episode investigates the meaning of the now often used, if not abused, term “fake news”. It explores whether this is a phenomenon that relates to competition and, if so, whether it is a reflection of too little competition, or indeed, too much.  The episode features observations and insights from various commentators.  If you would like to listen to the full accounts, you can find them as follows: Donald Trump Vergel Santos, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility Roger McNamee, Elevation Partners Craig Silverman, BuzzFeed Sally Hubbard, Capitol Forum Mark Thompson, New York Times Tim Wu, Columbia Law School Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Mar 2019

24 min 34 sec

Facebook has been taking fire on a host of fronts from governments and regulators around the world.  One of the latest to take aim is the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in its Inquiry into Digital Platforms and their impact on media and advertising sectors. In episode 20 of the podcast Dr Katherine Kemp explained the key findings and recommendations in the ACCC’s preliminary report, in which the Commission proposed changes to merger review and increased regulatory scrutiny as responses to Google and Facebook’s dominance of search, social media, advertising and news referral services markets. In this episode, Facebook’s Associate General Counsel, Competition, Sam Knox explains why the social media giant regards many of the findings to be flawed and why the proposed new measures are either misguided or may in fact harm consumers. The Inquiry website, with links to the Preliminary report and submissions, can be found here. By way of postscript to the episode, in yet more bad news for Facebook, the German competition authority has decided that its fusion of data sets from across different services constitutes an exploitative abuse of dominance and has made orders for data separation in the absence of user consent.  The Bundeskartellamt’s decision is here and Facebook’s initial response here. Aside from assisting in setting up the interview, Facebook had no other input to the production of this episode. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Feb 2019

55 min 27 sec

Traditional media has been transformed by technological change and across the world, governments and regulators are contemplating the impact of the disruption on the production and consumption of news.  Central to this consideration is the influence of digital platforms, Google and Facebook particularly, which now in large part shape what news content we consume and when and how we consume it. Crucial to the platforms’ role as news gateways is the advertising that funds their business models, transferring revenue substantially away from news organisations in favour of the search and social media giants. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has been conducting an inquiry into the impact of digital platforms on media and advertising markets and has recently released its preliminary report. In this episode Dr Katharine Kemp from the University of New South Wales steers us through the detailed maze of factual and legal analysis and draws attention to the key findings and principal recommendations as they relate to advertisers and news organisations. The inquiry website, with links to the Issues Paper, submissions and the preliminary report, can be found here. You can also read Katharine’s initial reaction to the report in a think piece published on The Conversation here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Feb 2019

40 min 43 sec

Why is the United States falling behind global competition standards? What drives Margrethe Vestager in leading the European Commission’s aggressive stance on big tech? Why did the Federal Trade Commission walk away from its Google investigation? And why should agencies focus on solutions to market problems, not just big cases and massive fines? These are just some of the topics canvassed in this episode on competition institutions in a digital age, with Professor William Kovacic of George Washington University and King’s College London. Bill has an encyclopedic knowledge of competition systems and agencies around the world and a deep understanding of what shapes and determines their effectiveness. He has published extensively on this subject and is in constant demand for his sage counsel on how to evaluate and improve agency performance. You can find many of his publications on his SSRN page here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jan 2019

38 min 56 sec

As the year draws to a close, this episode takes us on a short stroll down memory lane, re-capping key debates and recurring themes and reliving some of the highlights and the lighter moments from the Competition Lore discussion over its first six months. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Dec 2018

23 min 20 sec

“Capitalism without competition is not capitalism”.  That is the fundamental and irrefutable premise of a new book by Jonathan Tepper and Denise Hearn, The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition, named one of the best economics books of 2018 by The Financial Times. Tepper and Hearn launch a stinging attack on high concentration and insipid competition in the US economy today, documenting and explaining its symptoms and side effects at length. This is a polemic that takes no prisoners. Dysfunctionality and capture of the political, regulatory and academic establishments are recurring themes and, not surprisingly, Big Tech is singled out for special treatment. The book mounts an extensively researched and engagingly written case for an overhaul of antitrust enforcement to fix the problem.  It's a call to arms, exhorting legislators and courts to ensure that antitrust laws play their part in administering the dose of reinvigorated competition that Tepper and Hearn argue is sorely needed. Faltering productivity, stymied innovation, stagnant wages growth and rising inequality are not just concerns for the US, however.  They are the preoccupations of economic policymakers and enforcement agencies in many countries around the world, making the book a valuable resource with international relevance. In this episode, Jonathan shares the key insights from the book and defends its thesis against the arguments that most commonly feature on the opposing side of the debate. For more details and to order the book, you can visit The Myth of Capitalismwebsite. For more about Jonathan Tepper, he has his own personal website, and you can follow him on Twitter @jtepper2. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

E

Dec 2018

28 min 31 sec

The German legislature and competition agency are on the front foot in shoring up antitrust laws and taking action to deal with the challenges raised by a digital economy. Merger notification rules have been amended to ensure that acquisitions of small but significant competitors by the tech giants do not fall through the net. The Bundeskartellamt is engaged in a controversial investigation of Facebook’s data collection practices. And a raft of new regulation for platforms is on the drawing board, as well as potentially far-reaching changes to abuse of dominance laws to deal with intermediation power and market tipping. In this episode of Competition Lore, Professor Rupprecht Podszun of the Heinrich Heine Universitat Dusseldorf explains these developments, what’s behind them and why they are likely to be influential across Europe. Industrial policy, politics and the philosophical underpinnings of German competition law all feature in the fascinating discussion. You can access the new statutory provisions in the German competition legislation introduced in 2017 here. The Bundeskartellamt’s preliminary assessment in its Facebook proceeding is available on its website. And the report on Modernising the Law on Abuse of Market Power is also available online. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Nov 2018

40 min 46 sec

When grappling with competition issues in the digital economy, Google is often the first name to come up.  The tech powerhouse has been in the firing line of competition authorities in Europe. Its business model and strategies have sparked intense debate about what big data and big analytics mean for competition and how or even whether antitrust enforcers should respond. And, yet, for users who share their most intimate details with the search engine, Google has been equated with a "modern-day God". In this episode of Competition Lore, I am delighted to share the opportunity that I had to discuss these and related issues with Google’s Chief Economist, Hal Varian. Hal was not only generous with his time but with his views ranging from general topics such as the role of economics and populism in antitrust to specific issues raised by the European Commission’s decisions against in the Shopping and Android cases. Aside from setting up the interview, Google had no other input to the production of this episode. Hal hinted in the episode at a second edition of his co-authored best-selling book; let’s hope we can hold him to that!  But if you want to read the first edition, it is Information Rules: A Strategic Guide to the Network Economy.   The episode features an interjection from Professor Scott Galloway with his thesis that Google is a “modern day God”. You may find his book, The Four, of interest or you could listen to his TED Talk. Or, if you’re one of those who likes to contemplate whether there is “life after Google”, then you should read the book by George Gilder, Life After Google: The Fall of Big Data and Rise of the Blockchain Economy, also referred to in the episode. Or you could just watch this on Youtube. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Nov 2018

39 min 42 sec

Academics are making an important contribution to current debates regarding the policies and laws that govern competition in the digital era.  Independence and objectivity in academic research are crucial to the value and impact of that contribution. In this second episode in our mini-series on Academics and Big Tech, you’ll hear from Professor Ioannis Lianos of University College London on why he considers there to be serious risks to the integrity of academic research as a result of undisclosed funding by large tech companies.  The episode is a sequel to episode 13 in which Professor Daniel Sokol gave us a quite different perspective on these issues. However, this episode goes further, to explore why and how the playing field for research funding could and should be made more level and the importance of fairness in funding to allow for research that pushes the boundaries and tests the status quo. You will find the Academic Society for Competition Law’s Declaration of Ethics referred to in the episode here and you can read about Ioannis’s efforts to promote greater disclosure of corporate funding for academic research here. If you would like to read Ioannis’s latest thinking on how mainstream doctrines in competition law should be challenged, I highly recommend this paper: The Poverty of Competition Law, 2018. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded.   See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Nov 2018

32 min 25 sec

Technological transformations are raising a host of legal and economic issues that are keeping competition law academics very busy! But are there risks to academic independence in the era of big tech? And are they any different to the experience with big oil, big tobacco, big pharma? Recently there has been publicity surrounding the extent to which large tech companies are funding academic research that supports their policy and legal objectives.  Some are concerned that this threatens the integrity and value of the academic enterprise, particularly when there is non-disclosure of funding or potential conflicts of interest. Others are more accommodating, conscious of the impact of cut backs in government funding for research and keen to see greater engagement between universities and private enterprise. In this episode of Competition Lore, we hear from one of the antitrust scholars in the thick of the debate.  Professor Daniel Sokol is from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and is also an attorney at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, a client of which is Google. Danny shares his thoughts on being implicated personally in the campaign against so-called “Google Academics” and we talk about what it means to be a modern day scholar with a range of roles inside and outside of academia. Here is a sample of Danny’s recent work in relation to antitrust issues and big tech: The Cambridge Handbook of Antitrust, Intellectual Property, and High Tech, 2017 Understanding Online Markets and Antitrust Analysis, 2017 (with Jingyuan Mua) Responding to Antitrust and Information Technology, 2017 Does Antitrust Have a Role to Play in Regulating Big Data?, 2016 (with Roisin Comerford) The Broader Implications of Merger Remedies in High Technology Markets, 2014 The Google Transparency Project report referred in the episode can be found here. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Oct 2018

30 min 48 sec

“I think it’s hard to have a mission of wanting to bring the whole world closer together and leave out the biggest country..”. That was Mark Zuckerberg’s response when asked recently about Facebook’s record of attempted entry into China. By and large GAFA have struggled to compete in the largest economy in the world.  Meanwhile BAT (the homegrown tech trio, Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent) represent the new Chinese dragons, dominating in search, e-commerce, messaging, AI and other digital market spaces. In this episode of Competition Lore Dr Wendy Ng, a specialist in the political economy of Chinese competition law at the University of Melbourne, shares her insights on the context that shapes the way in which the Anti-Monopoly Law works in China. We canvas how the political and socio-cultural dynamics influence the law’s enforcement and the approach taken to abuse of dominance in particular. She explains the co-dependent relationship between the powerful domestic tech companies and the government and what challenges face their US counterparts.  Issues of digital protectionism come up! For anyone practising in this field in China or wanting to understand the context in which Chinese competition law operates, I highly recommend Wendy’s book: The Political Economy of Competition Law in China, 2018. And here is a sample of some of her other recent papers on related topics: The Influence of Socialist Principles on the Legal Regulation of Markets in China: The Anti-Monopoly Law, 2018 TheIndependence of Chinese Competition Agencies and the Impact on Competition Enforcement inChina, 2015 Policy Objectives of Public Enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law: An Assessment of the First Five Years, 2015 You can follow Wendy on Twitter at @wendyengee.   Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Oct 2018

33 min 46 sec

On 18 July this year Margrethe Vestager, Europe’s competition czar, announced a record €4.3 billion fine against Google in relation to various practices concerning Android, the search giant’s popular mobile operating system. It comes just over a year after the European Commission’s €2.4 billion fine in the so-called Google Shopping case, discussed with Professor Pinar Akman on episode 7 of Competition Lore. The Android case relates to complex contractual agreements that Google requires phonemakers to sign if they want to access the company’s popular digital services, in particular the ‘must have’ Google Play Store. The decision sparked a barrage of commentary, for and against, not least in the latter camp from the Google CEO who argues that the Android story is one of “more competition not less” in the mobile eco-system and to the benefit of now more than 2 billion Android phone users. In this episode of Competition Lore you’ll hear from Professor Nicolas Petit and Professor Simonetta Vezzoso, two of the many commentators who are dissecting the decision and who have very different views on whether the European Commission got it right. You'll also hear from Margrethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner, and from Sundar Pichai, the Google CEO! Full reasons for the decision are yet to be released. In the meantime, you can read the press release here and watch the announcement by Margrethe Vestager at the press conference here. You can follow developments in Nicolas’s and Simonetta’s thinking about the case and other aspects of competition and big tech on Twitter or their blogs and you might also be interested in some of their longer form writing: Nicolas @CompetitionProf https://symphonyofdisruption.org/ EU engaged in antitrust gerrymandering against Google, 2018 'Big is bad' narrative is simply untrue in high-tech sector, 2018 (with Richard Sousa) The Misguided Assault on the Consumer Welfare Standard in the Age of Platform Markets, 2018 Technology Giants, the Moligopoly Hypothezis and Holistic Competition: A Primer, 2016 Simonetta @wavesblog https://competitionwave.blogspot.com/ Android and Forking Restrictions: On the Hidden Closedness of “Open”, 2018 Fintech, Access to Data, and the Role of Competition Policy, 2018 Competition by design, 2017 Online Platforms, Rate Parity, and the Free Riding Defence, 2016 Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Oct 2018

30 min 21 sec

One of the fathers of economics, Adam Smith, famously said: “people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” He was referring of course to the irresistible temptation by competitors to collude.  Business collusion to subvert competition may be as old as the hills but it is facing new challenges. In today’s world, the combination of Big Data, speed-of-light digital connectivity and giga-normous computational capacity, allows for competitors to collude through algorithms in ways unimaginable in the pre-internet age. It’s a challenge that Professor Michal Gal of the University of Haifa is paying close attention to.  In this episode of Competition Lore Michal explains how algorithms make coordination between rivals much easier and more efficient.  She shares her creative thinking on how consumers themselves can use algorithms to counteract the anti-competitive effects.  And she helps us to understand the extent to which the current law captures algorithmic collusion as well as the ways in which it needs to adapt to keep up with technological developments. If you would like to learn more from Michal on the topics discussed in the episode, I highly recommend her papers: Algorithmic Consumers, 2017 (with Niva Elkin-Koren), published in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology Algorithms as Illegal Agreements, 2018, to be published in the Berkeley Technology Law Journal And here you can find out about the Topkins case that Michal referred to, a case brought by the US Department of Justice in 2015 which involved the use of dynamic pricing algorithms in the sale of online posters. Michal also referred to research by John Connor (regarding cartel overcharges) and Oren Bar-Gill (regarding price discrimination).  If you are interested in reading some of this work, here are the references: John Connor, Cartels Costly for Consumers, 2017 Oren Bar-Gill, Big Data, Privacy and Price Discrimination: A Behavioural Economics Perspective, 2015 Still hungry for more? Here are some of Michal’s other recent papers on related topics: The Hidden Costs of Free Goods: Implications for Antitrust Enforcement, 2016 (with Daniel Rubinfeld) Algorithmic Challenges to Autonomous Choice, 2017 The Social Contract at the Basis of Competition Law, 2017 The Power of the Crowd in the Sharing Economy, 2018 Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Sep 2018

1 hr 5 min

What’s behind the statement that all of us make sometimes: “that’s none of your business!”?  Have you ever thought about when and why you regard your information or behaviour as private? These are questions that we all need to grapple with in a platform economy, the basis for which is the collection and use of vast amounts of personal data. Some regard privacy as a human right, integral to our personhood.  Others regard it as an asset, tradeable for commercial value. There is also a view that privacy is essential to the workings of a liberal democratic society. In this episode of Competition Lore we are joined by Professor Colin Bennett, a political scientist who specialises in privacy, from the University of Victoria in Canada. In a wide ranging rich discussion, Colin explains how the meaning of privacy is highly context-specific, what kinds of value we ascribe to it and how it sometimes bumps up against other competing public interests including free speech and a free market. We talk about the international trade implications of data protection and about the governance of privacy at an international level, including how big tech companies are weighing into the policy and public discourse, what he thinks about the claim that Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation is a form of digital protectionism… and much much more. This episode is longer than previous episodes but is jam-packed with information and insights you will not want to miss...  If you’re keen to learn more about privacy, here’s a sample of Colin’s recent work: The European General Data Protection Regulation: An instrument for the globalization of privacy standards?, 2018 In Defense of Privacy: The Concept and the Regime, 2011 International Privacy Standards: A Continuing Convergence?, 2010 The Governance of Privacy: Policy Instruments in Global Perspective, 2016 (2nd ed) (with Charles Raab) The Privacy Advocates: Resisting the Spread of Surveillance, 2008 What Government Should Know about Privacy: A Foundation Paper, 2001 Visions of Privacy: Policy Choices for the Digital Age, 1999 (Rebecca Grant) Or you can visit his personal website at http://www.colinbennett.ca/. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Sep 2018

55 min 56 sec

Big Data and Big Analytics have policymakers in a frenzy. In some parts of the world this is leading to regulation that provides greater protection for privacy. But what does privacy have to do with competition? There are heated debates about whether stricter privacy regulation will shut down competition and innovation or whether it will drive competitive forces in a data-driven economy. Much of the debate has been focused on Europe’s latest Big Tech missile, the General Data Protection Regulation. But in the US also, some policymakers are considering following suit. This episode of Competition Lore features Peter Harris, Chairman of the Australian Productivity Commission, one of Australia’s leading public policy thinkers and the architect behind an innovative policy reform, a proposed comprehensive consumer right to data. It’s a reform slated to power up competition by empowering consumers while at the same time bolstering privacy. More broadly it is a reform aimed at creating a social licence for data collection and use, for the benefit of us all. If you would like more information about the Consumer Data Right, you can read the Productivity Commission’s 2017 data report here and the Australian Government’s response, and other related material, here. You might also be interested in this: Platform power and privacy protection: The case for policy innovation, 2018 Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Sep 2018

37 min 5 sec

As debates about big tech heat up, one of the talking points has been the decision of the European Commission to impose a record €2.42 billion fine on Google for abusing its dominance as a search engine by giving illegal advantage to its own comparison shopping service. The decision took 7 years to make and is now on appeal.  But Google is not alone in disagreeing with it. Some experts argue that the way in which Google’s search engine dealt with rival comparison shopping sites doesn’t fit neatly into any category of abuse recognised under European competition law.  More fundamentally, critics say that the Commission focussed too much on harm (unfairness even) to competitors and not enough on possible harm to consumers. Adding to the controversy is that the US Federal Trade Commission has investigated the same conduct and found Google did not have a case to answer. Professor Pinar Akman, Director of the Centre for Business Law and Practice at the University of Leeds, is an expert on Europe’s abuse of dominance law and has studied the case closely. Some of her research has been funded by Google but the views she expresses are her own. In this episode of Competition Lore, Pinar explains why the Commission’s decision should be seen, at best, as novel. She reflects on why the US FTC reached a different view on the same conduct and points out the problems with the remedy of equal treatment with which Google has had to comply. If you would like to read the European Commission’s decision in the Google shopping case, here are links to: The decision in full (beware it is 215 pages long!) The summary of the decision The Commission’s press release about the decision And if you would like to read what Pinar has written on the case, here are links to: A detailed analysis An abbreviated version... You may also enjoy watching or listening to a live debate held by Intelligence Squared and the BBC in London on the motion: “Break Up the Tech Giants”, in which Pinar was a speaker against the motion: https://www.intelligencesquared.com/events/break-up-the-tech-giants/.   Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Aug 2018

34 min 40 sec

The argument over Big Data is split. Some argue Big Data makes a small number of platform companies extremely powerful.  These companies have so much data and such resources that they can damage competition, erode our privacy and maybe even distort our democracy. But not everyone shares this view. Others say the data giants are so gigantic because they serve us so well.  We value what they offer and most of us don’t mind paying for it with our privacy. The ‘big is bad’ theory is not only wrong, it’s dangerous. Geoffrey Manne is one of the loudest critics.  He argues that Big Tech opponents have failed to identify clear harms to consumer welfare and calls for an evidence-based approach using an error-cost framework.  He also questions the wisdom of trying to shoehorn broader social and political concerns into the narrow economic remit of antitrust law. In this episode of Competition Lore, Geoff explains why we need to be wary of claims about privacy intrusion as anti-competitive, why network effects should be seen as good not bad, and why the argument that large data-sets prevent new entry is overblown.  He doesn’t buy the idea that big business effectively lobbies government to stifle regulation and he muses that the European crackdown on powerful platform companies may be anti-US protectionism at work. For him, the so far restrained approach of the US authorities is the right one.  The risks of getting it wrong, he argues, are just too great. Here’s a sample of Geoff’s recent writing on these topics: Big Tech’s Big-Time, Big-Scale Problem, 2018 (with Gus Hurwitz) Google and the Limits of Antitrust: The Case Against the Antitrust Case Against Google, 2017 (with Joshua Wright) Innovation and the Limits of Antitrust, 2012 (with Joshua Wright) The Problem of Search Engines as Essential Facilities: An Economic & Legal Assessment, 2011 (with Joshua Wright) The Law and Economics of Data and Privacy in Antitrust Analysis, 2014 (with Ben Sperry) The Problems and Perils of Bootstrapping Privacy and Data into an Antitrust Framework, 2015 (with Ben Sperry) A Critical Assessment of the Latest Charge of Google's Anticompetitive Bias from Yelp and Tim Wu, 2016 (with Ben Sperry and Kristian Stout) Truth on the Market blogs, https://truthonthemarket.com/author/geoffmanne/ And here’s that quirky song from Tower of Power – ‘What is hip’ Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Aug 2018

31 min 43 sec

Ever thought of your data as currency? When was the last time you read the privacy policy when you signed up to an online service? Who has the time? And what are you going to do if you don’t agree?  Professor Maurice Stucke argues that what we all thought was free, is still actually costing us – it’s just not taking our money. Coining that now pervasive aphorism, in the digital world the currency is data and we may well be handing it over without knowing its true value. This is just one of a series of economic, political and social risks associated with the rise of large data-driven business models highlighted by Professor Stucke.  In this episode of Competition Lore, Maurice Stucke explains how our data is powering digital platforms and outlines a regulatory and enforcement agenda for governments and competition authorities to keep a check on their power. Here is just a sample of Maurice Stucke's  recent work: No Mistake About It: The Important Role of Antitrust in the Era of Big Data, 2015 (with Allen Grunes) Debunking the Myths Over Big Data and Antitrust, 2015 (with Allen Grunes) Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy, Harvard University Press, 2016 (with Ariel Ezrachi) When Competition Fails to Optimize Quality: A Look at Search Engines, 2016 (with Ariel Ezrachi) Big Data and Competition Policy, Oxford University Press, 2016 (with Allen Grunes) How Digital Assistants Can Harm our Economy, Privacy, and Democracy, 2017 (with Ariel Ezrachi) Should we be concerned about data-opolies?, 2018 Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Aug 2018

24 min 30 sec

The digital revolution affecting economies and societies cuts across multiple areas of government policy and is engendering an active dialogue between policymakers. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development is playing a key role in advancing this dialogue and no more so than in the area of competition policy. Should governments be regulating powerful data-driven companies? What tools and skills do competition authorities need to protect competition in a digital economy? How should different government authorities work together in this mission?  These are the questions that the Head of the Competition Division of the OECD, Antonio Gomes and his colleagues, are asking and they’re bringing stakeholders from government, academia and business together to find the answers. In this episode of Competition Lore, Antonio shares the latest thinking of the Competition Division on the challenges and opportunities for competition authorities grappling with the digital transformation of markets. In a wide ranging discussion, we touch on vertical restraints in e-commerce, market definition and power in multi-sided markets, and the importance and timing of intervention to promote innovation, amongst other things. Here are links to the OECD’s resources on the digital economy, innovation and competition. And you can see Antonio and his colleagues discussing the work of the Competition Division on Youtube. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Aug 2018

31 min 58 sec

The way we consume news and media has changed dramatically over the past decade. Print newspapers are almost a thing of nostalgia and few of us wait to sit down in front of a television just to see what’s happening. Digital platforms are replacing media empires. The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission is conducting an inquiry into the effect that digital search engines, social media and content aggregators have on media and advertising. Rod Sims is the Chairman of the ACCC – a role in which he’s accustomed to industry upheaval and public controversy. In this episode of Competition Lore, Rod Sims outlines what's involved in scrutinising the platform goliaths, while admiring their business models and balancing the expectations of stakeholders. Here’s all the links for the ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry, including the Terms of Reference, Issues Paper and Submissions. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2018

34 min 44 sec

Many of us use the term "platform" on a daily basis to describe businesses that we connect with online. But when and how does a business act as a platform? And what difference does this make to platform users, whether as consumers or other businesses that sell or advertise products and services on it? Professor Dick Schmalensee has been studying platforms since at least the 1980s. He says the simplest definition of a platform is a business that brings different sides together. It's an old model but one supercharged by the tech-revolution, and it's getting attention from many authorities around the world. The first challenge though is to understand just what they are dealing with. In this episode of Competition Lore, Professor Schmalensee defines the platform business model and explains how their network effects work, making them attractive to users but also potentially challenging for competition law enforcement. Here is just a sample of Dick Schmalensee’s recent work relevant to this episode: Matchmakers: The New Economics of Multisided Platforms, Harvard Business Review Press, 2016 (with David Evans) Network Effects: March to the Evidence, not to the Slogans, 2017 (with David Evans). The Antitrust Analysis of Multisided Businesses, 2015 (with David Evans) Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2018

41 min 41 sec

There has been vigorous debate about the concentration of market power in super-platforms like Google and Facebook. Do we have the policy tools to preserve competition? What are the implications of increasingly powerful data-opolies? The new economy has led some scholars to question the economic theories that have underpinned competition policy since the '80s, and in some parts of the world, politicians and policymakers are taking notice. One of the clearest voices challenging the orthodoxy is Professor Maurice Stucke. He has highlighted a series of economic, political and social harms associated with the rise of large data-driven business models. His co-authored books on Big Data and Competition Policy and Virtual Competition have attracted enormous attention internationally. In this episode of Competition Lore, Professor Stucke explains what data-opolies are, and why he says we should worry about them. Here is just a sample of Maurice Stucke's recent work: No Mistake About It: The Important Role of Antitrust in the Era of Big Data, 2015 (with Allen Grunes) Debunking the Myths Over Big Data and Antitrust, 2015 (with Allen Grunes) Virtual Competition: The Promise and Perils of the Algorithm-Driven Economy, Harvard University Press, 2016 (with Ariel Ezrachi) When Competition Fails to Optimize Quality: A Look at Search Engines, 2016 (with Ariel Ezrachi) Big Data and Competition Policy, Oxford University Press, 2016 (with Allen Grunes) How Digital Assistants Can Harm our Economy, Privacy, and Democracy, 2017 (with Ariel Ezrachi) Should we be concerned about data-opolies?, 2018 Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2018

27 min 51 sec

Competition in a digital economy is a new frontier. Featuring regular cut-through interviews with leading thinkers, movers and shakers, Competition Lore is a podcast series that engages us all in a debate about the transformative potential and risks of digitalised competition. Join Caron Beaton-Wells, Professor in Competition Law at the University of Melbourne, to tackle what it means to participate as a competitor, consumer or citizen in a digital economy and society. Competition Lore launches on 5 July 2018. Subscribe now on your favourite podcast platform. Competition Lore is produced by Written & Recorded. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

Jul 2018

3 min 20 sec