Universiteit Leiden

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Market Power and Competition Law In the Software Industry

On Thursday 11 May 2017, Qiang Yu will defend his doctoral thesis ‘Market Power and Competition Law In the Software Industry’. The defence will start at 15.00 hrs, at the Academy Building of Leiden University, Rapenburg 73. The supervisors of the research are Professor T.R. Ottervanger and Professor S.C.G. Van den Bogaert. A brief summary of his thesis is provided below.

Competition law rules and assessment methods that developed from regulating traditional industries are widely applied in new industrial sectors. Adjustments to established competition law enforcement in the software market are necessary. This research investigates the application of competition law in the software market, focusing on the market power exercised by dominant firms.

The research seeks to clearly address one central problem: how established competition law should be adjusted in its application to the software market. It focusses on three sub-questions:

  1. What are the proper criteria when inferring market power?
  2. Are adjustments needed to the established competition law assessment methods for them to be used in identifying various types of abusive conduct in the software industry?
  3. What adjustments to the traditional competition remedies are needed to guarantee that vibrant competition and innovation are simultaneously protected?

The research proposes answers to the above questions as follows:

  1. Market definition is not a sufficient basis for inferring market power in the software market; more emphasis should be placed on analysing established facts.
  2. Adjustments to established competition law assessment methods should be made in respect of both pricing and non-pricing practices.
  3. The design of competition remedies against the non-price exercise of market power should be cautious with respect to their effect on innovation efficiency.

Much of this research was conducted by investigating Microsoft cases tried in developed countries.

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