QuickLinks - Competition
Issue no. 247 - 19 October 2002
- EU - Competition in the markets for electronic communications
Commission Directive 2002/77/EC of 16 September 2002 on competition in the markets for electronic communications networks and services (pdf). The Directive replaces Commission Directive 90/388/EEC and consolidates its provisions as amended while making further amendments in the areas of: exclusive and special rights for electronic communications networks and electronic communications services; vertically integrated public undertakings; rights of use of frequencies; directory services; universal service obligations; satellites; cable television networks.
- EU - M6 v Commission, Gestevisión Telecinco v Commission and SIC v Commission
Judgment of the Court of First Instance in Joined Cases T-185/00, T-299/00 and T-300/0. The Commission was wrong to conclude that, even in a market limited to certain major international sporting events, the sub-licensing system set up by the EBU guarantees access to Eurovision rights for third parties competing with EBU members. see judgement in French.
- EU - The Economics of Antitrust in the Telecommunications sector
Documents relating to the conference held at Brussels on 16 September 2002
- US - Rivals: Microsoft is up to old tricks
As Microsoft awaits court approval of its landmark antitrust settlement with the government, the company has angered some competitors by tightly limiting the technical data it promised to release.
Issue no. 246 - 29 September 2002
- DE - EU Wants to Review Mobilcom Bailout
Germany's Mobilcom reassured its employees that most of their jobs are safe after a government-led bailout spared it from bankruptcy. The European Union's executive, meanwhile, said it wanted to review the $388 million rescue package, hammered out after Mobilcom shareholder France Telecom cut off funding, to make sure it didn't break rules on state aid. see also EU, Germany Clash on MobilCom Rescue Aid (Reuters). The European Commission clashed with Germany over whether a government rescue plan for troubled telecoms operator MobilCom was state aid requiring European Union approval. German government bails out MobilCom (vnunet). 5,000 jobs saved as general election approaches. The German government has bailed out mobile phone operator MobilCom, after its principal shareholder France Telecom cut off funding.
- EU - A Global Competition Policy ?
Mario Monti European Commissioner for Competition Policy European Competition Day Copenhagen, 17 September 2002
- US - Microsoft update 'violates' settlement
ProComp, a rival computer-industry trade group, has alleged that Microsoft's newly released Windows XP Service Pack 1 violates a pending antitrust settlement.
Issue no. 245 - 15 September 2002
- EU / UK and Germany - Commission intends to clear 3G network sharing agreements between T-Mobile and MM02
The European Commission has reached the preliminary conclusion, subject to third-party comment, that it can take a favourable view regarding two sets of agreements to share infrastructure networks for the third generation (3G) of mobile phones. The agreements were filed for approval under the competition rules by mobile network operators T-Mobile and MMO2 and concern the networks that they are building in Germany and in the United Kingdom. The Commission's analysis of the two deals is that the significant cost savings anticipated from the sharing of network elements should lead to quicker 3G network roll-out and services competition, which will benefit consumers, without leading to undue restraints on network competition. Other benefits include greater network coverage and a more limited environmental impact.
- FR - Plainte de l'UFC contre Orange pour abus de position dominante
L'Union fédérale des consommateurs (UFC-Que Choisir) annonce avoir porté plainte devant le Conseil de la concurrence contre Orange pour abus de position dominante, à la suite de la décision de l'opérateur de téléphonie mobile de surfacturer les communication de ses clients vers les réseaux mobiles concurrents.
Issue no. 244 - 7 September 2002
- EU - Commission clears Bertelsmann's buy of Zomba
The European Commission has cleared the proposed acquisition of Dutch companies Zomba Record and Zomba Music by Germany's Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) from Summer Shore of the Netherlands. The Commission has asserted that the transaction will result in relatively small increases of BMG's market shares which will not significantly alter the competitive structure of the European music market.
Issue no. 242 - 30 July 2002
- ES - Rekordstrafe von 18 Millionen Euro für Telefonica
Der spanische Telecom-Konzern Telefonica ist wegen Beeinträchtigung des freien Wettbewerbs zu einer Rekordstrafe von 18 Millionen Euro verurteilt worden. Die Aufsichtsbehörde für die Telekom-Märkte (CMT) sah es als erwiesen an, dass das einstige Monopolunternehmen zur Abwehr von Konkurrenten einer Vereinigung von Firmen unrechtmäßige Preisabschläge gewährte.
Issue no. 241 - 24 July 2002
- EU / FR - Commission approves privatisation and restructuring plan for Société Française de Production
The European Commission today decided not to raise any objections to the privatisation and restructuring plan for Société Française de Production (SFP). The plan provides for state financing of social measures for the workers laid off. Such measures, which are designed to reduce the adverse effect of redundancies without relieving the undertaking of its usual costs, are part of the social policy of the Member States and do not constitute aid within the meaning of the EC Treaty. SFP, which is wholly owned by the State, is a public undertaking in the audiovisual production sector (sets and studios, machinery, vision and sound, special effects, etc.)
- US - FTC Workshop to Explore Possible Anticompetitive Efforts to Restrict Competition on the Internet
On October 8-10, 2002, the Federal Trade Commission will host a three-day public workshop to explore how certain state regulations and private business practices may be having significantly anticompetitive effects on e-commerce. Some private estimates suggest that the potential costs to consumers of these anticompetitive restrictions "may exceed $15 billion annually." some states prohibit online sales of certain products or require that e-businesses maintain a physical office in their state. Industries in which significant restrictions on Internet commerce have been alleged include retailing, the sale of automobiles, cyber-charter schools, real estate and mortgages, health care, pharmaceuticals, telemedicine, the sale of wine, auction services, the sale of contact lenses, and the sale of caskets. All of these restrictions may contribute to sound public policy, or they may constitute attempts by existing industries to forestall the entry of Internet competitors and impede new forms of competition.
Issue no. 240 - 14 July 2002
- EU - Commission clears merger between Telia and Sonera subject to conditions
The European Commission has given the go ahead to the proposed acquisition of Finnish-based telecommunications group Sonera Corp. by Sweden's Telia AB, another telecoms firm. The Commission feared that the deal -- the first between two incumbent telecoms companies in Europe which moreover are neighbours -- could act against consumers' interests by reducing competition in Finland and in Sweden. But the companies addressed these concerns by offering to sell Telia's mobile operations in Finland, Telia's cable TV network in Sweden and by creating a legal separation between their fixed and mobile networks and services businesses in Finland and Sweden.
- EU - Commission issues market power assessment guidelines for electronic communications
The European Commission has adopted Guidelines on market analysis and the assessment of Significant Market Power (SMP), as required by Directive 2002/21/EC on a new common regulatory framework for electronic communications service(1) (the Framework Directive). The Guidelines set out the principles that national regulatory authorities (NRAs) will use to define markets and analyse effective competition. The Guidelines were developed on the basis of existing case law and the Commission's practice in the enforcement of EU competition law.
- EU - Getting competition in local access
Speech by Mr. Mario Monti European, Commissioner for Competition Policy, Public hearing sector enquiry local loop unbundling, Brussels - 8 July 2002.
Issue no. 237 - 16 June 2002
- EU - Commission welcomes UEFA's new policy for selling the media rights
The European Commission intends to take a favourable view towards the draft new rules of UEFA, Europe's soccer governing body, regarding the sale of the broadcasting and other media rights to the Champions League. UEFA's draft new rules will bring the Champions League media rights within the reach of Internet content providers and UMTS operators as well as of a greater number of television and radio companies. Instead of selling the rights as a bundle to only one broadcaster per country, UEFA will sell the rights in several packages for shorter periods of time, and individual football clubs will also be able to exploit some of the rights with their fan base.
- EU - Speech: Access to Content and Platform Competition
Speech by Herbert UNGERER, Digital TV Regulation and Competition Law Conference, Brussels, Belgium, 22.04.2002
- EU - Speech: European competition policy affecting the communications industry
(Commission DG COMP)
Overview of major developments. Speech by Jean-François PONS, IBA/ABA, Communications and Competition: Developments at the crossroads, Washington D.C., USA, 20.05.2002
- EU - Speech: Review of the EC Merger Regulation - Roadmap for the reform project
Speech by Mr. Mario Monti European Competition Commissioner Conference on Reform of European Merger Control British Chamber of Commerce - Brussels, June 4, 2002
Issue no. 236 - 8 June 2002
- EU - Commission approves acquisition of joint control of VG Media by RTL and ProSiebenSat.1
The European Commission has approved the acquisition of the joint control of the German company VG Media Gesellschaft zur Verwertung der Urheber- und Leistungsschutzrechte für Medienunternehmen by the RTL Group and PROSIEBENSAT.1 Media AG. The Commission has concluded that the transaction does not pose any competition problems.
- EU - Commission approves state funding to BBC digital television and radio channels
The European Commission has decided that the funding of the BBC's nine new digital television and radio channels through the UK television licence fee does not involve state aid. This is because the new channels will be subject to public service obligations and the state financing is not disproportionate to the net costs of running the services.
- EU - Commission clears online travel agency between Amadeus and Galeries Lafayette
The European Commission has granted regulatory clearance to a deal whereby Laser, a subsidiary of French retail group Galeries Lafayette, and Amadeus will acquire joint control of a joint venture which will operate as an online travel agency in France.
- IE - Child porn raids in Irish Republic
Computer hard drives suspected of containing pornographic images of children are being examined by police in the Irish Republic. It follows an operation across the country on Monday when up to 100 homes were raided. It is understood the people under investigation include a judge, a solicitor, a teacher and a health board official.
- UK - Rivals threaten BBC with court for £150m online learning push
Several media and software companies are demanding a judicial review of the BBC's plans to spend £150m of licence money on expanding its online education service over the next five years. The BBC faces a battle with a coalition of 18 software firms, which say their industry will be "decimated" if the BBC plans are approved by the government. They believe the plans go beyond the corporation's public service remit. see also Tessa Jowell seeks views on BBC application for new Digital Curriculum service (DCMS Press Release) and BBC Application for Digital Curriculum Service including PricewaterhouseCoopers' Market Assessment.
- US - Merger-Review Plan Scuttled
The Bush administration dropped a controversial plan to change the way the government's antitrust agencies review corporate mergers and acquisitions. In face of strong opposition from a key senator, the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission wrote Senate committees that they would abandon an agreement to codify which agency should review mergers in specific industries.
Issue no. 235 - 20 May 2002
Issue no. 234 - 11 May 2002
- EU / Germany - Commission suspects Deutsche Telekom of overcharging for access to its local network
The European Commission has sent Deutsche Telekom AG (DT) a statement of objections setting out the preliminary conclusion that the German incumbent telecommunications operator has abused its dominant position through unfair pricing regarding the provision of local access to its fixed telecommunications network (local loop). The Commission is concerned about DT's practice of charging new entrants higher fees for wholesale access to the local loop than what DT's subscribers pay for retail access.
Issue no. 233 - 4 May 2002
- EU / France - Commission authorises the purchase by TF1 of 25% of the capital of TP
The European Commission has given the green light to the purchase by the French television channel TF1 of the shares in the digital package of satellite television channels Télévision Par Satellite (TPS) held by France Télévision and France Télécom.
- EU / France - Commission clears purchase by Vivendi of Liberty's stake in Multithématiques
The European Commission has authorised the acquisition by French company Vivendi-Universal of Liberty's stake in Multithématiques, a thematic channels group. This operation will increase Vivendi's shareholding in Multithématiques in which it will have joint control with Lagardère. The opération will not significantly change the competitive situation of the market since Vivendi already held joint control in Multithématiques.
- USA - Microsoft outmanoeuvres opposing states' lawyers
Lawyers for the nine litigating states in the Microsoft anti-trust remedy hearings appeared to have been comprehensively outmanoeuvred by their counterparts defending the software giant after Microsoft's legal team decided to halve the number of defence witnesses they would call.
Issue no. 232 - 28 April 2002
Issue no. 231 - 14 April 2002
- Deutschland - Verwendung sachfremder Keywords bei html-Metatags untersagt
Die Verwendung von html-Metatags, die keinen sachlichen Bezug zu den auf der Webseite angebotenen Inhalten aufweisen, verstößt gegen §§ 1, 3 des Gesetzes gegen den unlauteren Wettbewerb (UWG). Das entschied das Landgericht Düsseldorf . [Ed: A dispute between two companies selling gowns for members of the Bar and the judiciary, obviously a fiercely competitive branch of industry ...]
- EU - Commission examines EUR 450 million cash advance to Bull
The European Commission decided today to launch the state aid investigation procedure into the €450 million cash advance granted by the French Government to the computer company Bull. The Commission's decision is prompted by its doubts about whether France has complied with the conditions laid down in the Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty.
- EU - Does EC competition policy help or hinder the European audiovisual industry?
Mario Monti European Commissioner for Competition Policy, British Screen Advisory Council, The Cavendish Conference Centre, London, 26 November 2001. see also Media in Europe: Media and EU competition law Speech by Herbert Ungerer, Conference on Media in Poland, Polish Confederation of Private Employers, Warsaw, Poland, 13.02.2002.
- EU - European Commission raps Check Point's knuckles
The European Commission has closed an investigation into Check Point Software after the Israeli firm promised not to engage in exclusionary supply practices with its distributors. see Stonesoft's complaint to the European Commission and Commission closes probe into Check Point after receiving formal undertaking (RAPID)
- USA - Court Order Curbs Site's Ranking In Search Results
A federal judge has told a California business to mention one of its competitors less often on its own Web site - an order intended to lower the site's profile in some Web searches. The unusual demand was part of a pre-trial injunction issued late last month in a lawsuit involving competing tax experts who would normally be battling the Internal Revenue Service on behalf of their tax-owing clients.
- USA - Murdoch company 'leaked rival's TV codes'
A News Corporation whistleblower has claimed that NDS, a software subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch's pay-television empire, directed an employee to leak secret codes belonging to its closest rival to internet pirates.
- USA - No. 2 U.S. Phone Carrier Sees Threat In Microsoft
Microsoft is positioned to seize control of Internet-based telephone and messaging services in the same way that it monopolizes personal computer operating systems, an official of SBC Communications testified at a Microsoft antitrust hearing. He forecast a new battleground for services that will enable consumers to retrieve voice mail, e-mail and faxes from Internet-enabled telephones, cell phones or handheld organizers. see also IBM, Microsoft plot Net takeover (ZDNet), Economist Supports Some, Not All, Microsoft Penalties (Newsbytes) and Windows Features Not Vital, Expert Says.
Issue no. 230 - 7 April 2002
- EU - Commission suspects KPN of abusing its dominant position for the termination of calls on its mobile network
The European Commission has sent to Dutch incumbent telecommunications operator Koninklijke KPN NV a statement of objections alleging that KPN has abused its dominant position regarding the termination of telephone calls on the KPN mobile network through discriminatory or otherwise unfair behaviour. The case stems from a complaint by MCI WorldCom. Studies show that fixed to mobile termination rates in Europe can be ten times higher than the average charge for fixed to fixed interconnection. This results in undue barriers for newcomers to the market and high prices for consumers.
Netherlands - Opta has new rules for mobile phone operators
- USA - Breadth of accusations against Microsoft widens
An interactive television software group accused Microsoft of attempting to use its $12.4bn worth of holdings in the global cable television and telecoms industry to stifle competition. Liberate Technologies warned that a large competitor such as Microsoft could eliminate competing technology either by explicitly requiring cable and satellite companies to use its software, or by establishing biased criteria that tilted the selection process in its favour.
Issue no. 228 - 17 March 2002
- EU - Microsoft makes moves to avoid Brussels fine
Microsoft has made concessions that addressed some of the key concerns raised by Brussels. It would make available to the industry information on two technical standards, an encryption language called Kerberos and an internet standard known as Common Internet File System.
Issue no. 227 - 10 March 2002
Issue no. 226 - 3 March 2002
- Deutschland - Kartellamt begründet Entscheidung gegen Liberty
Nachdem die Entscheidung des Bundeskartellamts zur Übernahme von TV-Kabelnetzen der Deutschen Telekom durch Liberty durchgesickert war, liegt nun die Begründung vor.
- France - Wanadoo condamné, la bagarre de l´ADSL continue
Le conseil de la concurrence ordonne que tous les fournisseurs d´accès soient sur un pied d´égalité pour l´ADSL. Et Wanadoo, en attendant, ne pourra plus profiter des agences France Télécom pour son offre Haut-Débit. voir aussi France Telecom doit suspendre la vente des packs ADSL de Wanadoo (AFP). see also France - Watchdog rules against France Telecom on ADSL (Total Telecom).
- UK - BBC websites distort market say rivals
Media groups have renewed their attack on the BBC's online activities, which they say are distorting the market for commercial sites operating in areas such as motoring, sport and pop music. The British internet publishers alliance - formed to protect the internet interests of media groups including Trinity Mirror, News International, Associated Newspapers and the Guardian Media Group - has written to the BBC chairman, Gavyn Davies, to complain that the BBC's online operations are crowding competitors out of the market. see also UK - BBC promises overhaul of governors (Guardian), UK - Ministers may vet BBC's youth TV output (Guardian) and UK - BBC: Davies steps out of the shadows (FT).
- USA - Ashcroft Defends FTC-Justice Merger Review Plan
U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft defended a plan that would give the Justice Department sole merger review authority over media, telecommunications and entertainment industry mergers, while taking it away from the Federal Trade Commission.
- USA - FTC Allows Five ISPs To Use AOL Time Warner Cable Lines
The Federal Trade Commission has approved five more Internet service providers to use AOL Time Warner's cable systems, as part of the media giant's fulfillment of regulatory conditions related to the AOL-Time Warner merger.
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