26 September 2023

ACCC Chief sees rules to flatten platforms

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The Chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Rod Sims has said new rules and regulations may be needed to rectify community concerns about the dominance of Apple and Google in the app marketplaces.

In a speech to a webinar about the ACCC’s digital platforms services inquiry, Mr Sims said the Commission was closely monitoring moves by overseas Governments and regulators that aimed to address competition and consumer concerns similar to those identified in the ACCC’s second Digital platform services inquiry Interim Report, published in April.

“It is an exciting and challenging time to be a competition enforcer and regulator,” Mr Sims said.

“There is much work underway in many jurisdictions to address the impact of the dominant digital platforms, whose global presences requires a global response,” he said.

“This is why international coherence and alignment on both regulatory and enforcement approaches is so important, and we remain in close contact with our counterparts working on these issues overseas.”

Mr Sims said the ACCC and international regulators in the United States, Europe, the UK and Asia had already launched a large number of inquiries, enforcement investigations and litigation related to the companies’ dominance in app marketplaces.

The ACCC Chair said that while the enforcement actions and market studies were necessary to tackle the problems of dominant digital platforms, many jurisdictions now recognised that they were not enough on their own.

He said much broader regulatory reforms were being considered, and implemented, by other major jurisdictions to address the ‘gatekeeper’ or ‘strategic’ market power of major digital platforms.

Mr Sims said the reforms spanned issues of preventing further entrenchment of dominant market positions; promoting competition; and promoting greater transparency and fairness.

“Our own work at the ACCC must be tailored to match our own issues and concerns,” he said.

“But although the finer details of our approaches may vary, competition authorities can still achieve successful global outcomes by aligning their approaches to both enforcement and regulation,” Mr Sims said.

Mr Sims’ speech can be accessed at this PS News link.

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