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The Legal Definition of Self-Preferencing: Too Narrow, Too Broad, or Both?

 |  November 22, 2023

By: Peter Ormosi (Center for Competition Policy)

In the realm of digital platforms and market regulation, self-preferencing has become a focal point of concern, particularly regarding how large platforms prioritize their own products over those of competitors. Author Peter Ormosi delves into the intricate landscape of self-preferencing, questioning the adequacy of its current definition and its implications for consumers.

The conventional understanding, often linked to vertical integration, is scrutinized as potentially too narrow, as profitable strategies akin to self-preferencing may not necessarily hinge on vertical integration. Conversely, the definition is also challenged for its potential breadth, lacking a clear specification of consumer harm as a requisite for illegality, despite the fact that self-preferencing doesn’t always result in direct harm to consumers.

Ormosi’s exploration extends to legal frameworks, examining how the EU Digital Markets Act and the draft UK Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill address self-preferencing, shedding light on the evolving regulatory landscape in this complex domain.