Trends and Perspectives on Digital Platforms and Digital Television in Europe| Which Is to Be Master? Competition Law or Regulation in Platform Markets
The rise of economically strong Internet platform companies has unsettled traditional communications markets. Consequently, debates over the appropriate handling of platformization have moved center stage, including discussions of which instrument—regulation or competition law—is to be master. This article looks into the complex relationship between the two and argues how the often-purported separation between them is conceptually of little avail. It distinguishes two phases of which is to be master and shows how these have similarities but also significant differences. Among other things, the first phase during liberalization and convergence was characterized by a perceptual bias against regulation and for competition law in communications. In contrast, in the second phase of platformization, there is acknowledgement of a need to modernize competition law and concurrent fears that it will be overstrained if employed as a primary instrument and panacea for every new challenge.