The Europa Research Projects are academic initiatives undertaken by Europa Institute members and financially supported by the Institute.
Since 2004, the year in which Microsoft was landed with substantial fines for breaching EU competition rules, the information technology industry has been something of a moving, yet constant target for antitrust intervention in the European Union. Concerns of the emergence of industrial leaders who, due to their technological prowess and to the structure and the characteristics of these markets 'hold the key' to future progress; the ongoing need to ensure high levels of consumer protection; and the maintenance of open, borderless markets have been at the heart of much of the enforcement activities undertaken by the European Commission, under the leadership of Competition Commissioners Neelie Kroes first and Margrethe Vestager now.
From Microsoft to Google, to Intel and Huawei, and finally to Apple, European competition enforcers appear poised to keep a very watchful eye, if not a very proactive enforcement attitude, when it comes to scrutinising the conduct of the IT 'big players'. The EU courts have not stood still either. Recent judgements have brought back into the limelight the ongoing tensions between the need to foster competition and the demands of a well-functioning Intellectual Property system, ultimately for the purpose of boosting future investment. Paramount to these developments, the Commission inquiry on e-Commerce has provided extremely useful insights as to the way in which this form of marketing works. It has also raised issues that the internal market may not be 'working as well' once goods and services are traded via online platforms.
In June 2017, a number of academics and practitioners will gather in Edinburgh to discuss these issues at a study day organised thanks to the generous support of the Europa Institute. The day discussions will be then followed by an opportunity for further engagement: the speakers will participate to a roundtable under the auspices of the Scottish Competition Forum and take the opportunity to develop their arguments before the Scottish practitioner and professional audience.
Speakers confirmed to date include: Dr Stephen Dnes (University of Dundee), Dr Pablo Ibáñez Colomo (LSE), Dr Francesco De Cecco (Newcastle University), Dr Emmanuel Oke (University of Edinburgh), Prof Ariel Ezrachi (Pembroke College, University of Oxford)