In order to gain a deeper knowledge of the competitive and market conditions on digital platform markets in Sweden, the Swedish Competition Authority has conducted a sector inquiry.
The Swedish Competition Authority has analysed five selected markets along with the Swedish Competition Authority's previous competition cases concerning digital markets in order to assess whether there are obstacles to effective competition on digital platforms, and whether it is possible to exercise effective enforcement, or if there is a need for regulatory reforms or supplementary regulation.
The Swedish Competition Authority's report is based on studies of 16 different digital platforms, including CDON, Tradera, Storytel and Foodora, as well as Apple, Google and Facebook. The inquiry reveals major differences between the various platforms and platform markets. For this reason, potential risks vary from one digital market to the next.
Summary of findings
The sector inquiry has shown that digital platform markets can be very complex and that there are significant differences both between platforms within the same market and between different platform markets. It is therefore difficult to draw general conclusions. In order to gain a clear understanding of a market's functionality and the business models that are used, a separate and detailed analysis of the market is necessary. The risk of competition concerns arising as a result of market structure and the types of conduct that are potentially problematic vary across markets. A number of the findings presented in our report are not necessarily specific to platform markets, even though the risk of certain competition concerns arising may be larger on them.
The analysis that has been made within the scope of this sector inquiry of the selected markets and the Swedish Competition Authority's case experience shows that it is possible in a number of cases to address competition concerns on digital markets with the current competition law framework, which is applicable irrespective of the market. However, the current competition law framework, which prohibits anti-competitive agreements and the abuse of a dominant position, has a number of built-in limitations. Even if a certain competition concern could be investigated as a potential infringement, the presence of a competition concern is merely one of several requisites that need to be met in order to intervene in a particular case. Some types of concerns may also fall outside of the scope of the current competition rules. Irrespective of the opportunities to intervene in a certain situation, there may be more efficient, quick and cost-effective ways to address competition concerns. At an EU level, legislative proposals have been presented for regulating large digital platforms. The Swedish Competition Authority proposes that the question of additional regulation should be investigated at a Swedish level. Such an investigation should look at what regula-tion is required to prevent or address competition concerns that cannot be addres-sed, or that are not suited to being addressed, prevented or counteracted under the current competition law prohibitions or other existing rules. In the view of the Swedish Competition Authority, this is a topical and important question for competition and consumers in Sweden.