Tech giants do not face enough competition - reducing consumer choice and innovation

15 March, 2019, 16:12 | Author: Regina Silva
  • UK Chancellor

The Chancellor said that he would examine the proposals carefully before responding later in 2019, outlining how the United Kingdom government will implement changes required to ensure consumer choice and competitive digital markets.

The biggest technology companies have become too dominant and government should create a new competition unit to help increase consumer choice, an independent review into the sector has said.

The review makes 20 specific recommendations for the government, including the creation of a new digital markets unit with expertise in technology, economics and behavioural science and the necessary legal powers.

United Kingdom chancellor Philip Hammond has requested that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) launch a review after an independent report he commissioned detailed how the UK's competition framework isn't fit for the economic challenges posed by digital markets, at home and internationally. The UK must remaining a welcoming place for digital business from around the world, and ensure that the UK competition and wider regulatory framework is not in conflict with the other leading digital economies with which we must compete.

A CMA investigation of the digital advertising market, now dominated by Facebook and Google.

The review also recommends changes to merger rules so that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is better equipped to stop mergers that are considered likely to damage future competition or consumer choice.

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Mr. Hammond made the comments during his Spring Statement to Parliament, Wednesday.

Google and Facebook are coming under increasing scrutiny from regulators, not just in the United Kingdom but also in the U.S. and in Europe.

The British report was released the same day that Swedish music-streaming service Spotify said it filed an antitrust complaint against Apple, accusing it of stifling competition through its control over the iPhone's operating system and app store. Google said it was to appeal the ruling.

"Its central conclusions that digital markets only work well if they are supported with strong pro-competition policies, corroborates a number of the findings of my committee's report into disinformation and "fake news" published in February", he said.

It follows similar recommendations for a study by House of Commons committees and Culture Secretary Jeremy Wright.

Double-digit growth will push digital advertising spend in the United Kingdom above £15bn in 2019, according to forecasts from Barclays. Facebook and Google are expected to hoover up the bulk of that spend.

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