The European Parliament and the Council of Ministers have reached an agreement on the EU Telecoms Reform. The reform, proposed by the Commission in November 2007 ( IP/07/1677 ), substantially strengthens competition and consumer rights on Europe's telecoms markets, facilitates high-speed internet broadband connections to all Europeans and establishes a European Body of Telecoms Regulators to complete the single market for telecoms networks and services.
Competition rules address issues of market power, whether through the prohibition of abuse of dominant positions by firms, or through the rules that control anti-competitive agreements and cartels. The ICT sector has historically been an area where these rules have been applied proactively by the authorities to open up the market, whether in access to telecommunications infrastructures or access to the facilities and operating systems of computer companies.
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Without regulation of monopoly telecommunications facilities and services, the development of ICT and Cloud services would be significantly impeded by incumbent telecommunications companies who benefit from inherent economies of scale, economies of scope and network externalities. In OCA’s response to the Commission’s public consultation on “Post-12010: priorities for a new strategy for European information society (2010-2015)”, we argue for: • robust anti-trust action and regulation of monopoly services and facilities at all levels of the technology stack; and • better coherence and a forward looking approach by the family of European regulators and anti-trust authorities.
The European Commission has published a non-confidential version of its Intel Decision adopted on 13 May 2009. This Decision found that Intel breached Article 82 of the EC Treaty by implementing a series of conditional rebates to computer manufacturers and to a European retailer and by taking other measures aimed at delaying the launch of computers based on competing products thereby excluding competitors from the market for x86 central processing units (CPUs).
The decision imposed a fine of EUR 1.06 billion and obliged Intel to cease the identified illegal practices, to the extent that they were ongoing, and not to engage in the same or equivalent practices in the future.
Read the European Commission’s press release here.
Review the case material here.
This Office of Fair Trading guide sets out the rationale for Government intervention in markets and demonstrates that for these interventions to be effective in the long term, their impact on competition needs to be a central consideration. The guide then sets out some of the major ways that Government intervenes, both in setting market frameworks and through its wider impact on markets. It also identifies ways that policy makers can spot and minimise unintended consequences that impact on effective market dynamics beyond the short term. It includes case studies of the impacts in practice.
Click here to read the guide.
In its investigation of the acquisition of IBS OPENsystems by Capita Group, the Competition Commission found that a UK market existed for a single software system and its related services, the Revenue & Benefits (R&B) software system. A substantial lessening of competition in this market was found to result from the merger, the remedy of which required Capita to divest IBS’ Revenue & Benefits software system and to assign to any approved purchaser the intellectual property rights of software codes necessary to operate the IBS R&B business.