Monday, September 8, 2008

A little light in a very dark place

A sensible approach to enforcement of what the US calls "monopolization" and Europe calls "abuse of dominance."
  1. [safe harbour]...only if the firm possesses, or is likely to achieve, monopoly power.
  2. [antitrust law] does not prohibit the mere possession or exercise of monopoly power.
  3. Acquiring or maintaining monopoly power through conduct harming the competitive process should be condemned.
  4. [antitrust law] protects the competitive process but not individual competitors.
  5. [acknowledge uncertainty] Distinguishing beneficial competitive conduct from harmful exclusionary or predatory conduct often is difficult.
  6. [minimize expected costs of prosecution errors] ... standards should prevent conduct that harms the competitive process, but should avoid overly broad prohibitions that suppress legitimate competition.
  7. [Practicability] standards eshould be understandable and clear to businesspeople and judges and must account for the possibility of error and administrative
A dissenting view from three current FTC commissioners.
“In short,” Commissioners Harbour, Leibowitz, and Rosch, wrote “the Department’s Report erects a multi-layered protective screen for firms with monopoly or near-monopoly power. As an inevitable consequence, dominant firms would be able to engage in these practices with impunity, regardless of potential foreclosure effects and impact on consumers. ...”

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