Football Fans Have Reason to Thank the SA Competition Commission

January 29, 2010

(by Bruce Lyons) Six airlines offering internal flights in South Africa have been planning ahead for the World Cup this summer. It seems they have foreseen a couple of ‘problems’. First, some rivals might not have realised this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to raise prices as herds of fans travel from one stadium to the next. Second, it is not clear, even to those executives with this level of foresight, which particular flights will be in most demand. The alleged ‘solution’, now being investigated by the SA CC, was for the airlines to share these thoughts with each other along with a proposed plan of action. Read the rest of this entry »

Greece Needs to Tackle Cartels – But Can It?

January 26, 2010

(by Andreas Stephan) An EU task force sent to Athens in January have suggested that removing obstacles to competition – estimated to cost Greece around 1% of GDP (€2.5bn a year) – would help to restore its competitiveness and contribute to controlling the current Greek economic crisis. As well as the need for greater liberalisation in Greek markets, collusion is thought to be a big problem. But in the light of its business culture and public sentiment, can cartel control be made effective in Greece? Read the rest of this entry »

Patent War Economics: Are ‘Grantbacks’ Unreasonable?

January 21, 2010

(by Bruce Lyons)  I recently wrote on the boundaries of competition policy and IPRs, including the thicket of patents embedded in mobile phone standards.  An interesting new twist arose just before Christmas when Apple filed against Nokia in the USA.  The issues include not just ‘unreasonable’ pricing of a patent, but also whether it is wrong to demand a licence to an ‘unrelated’ technology as part of the price. Read the rest of this entry »