Vertical Integration by Software Giants into Manufacturing

February 28, 2012

(by Bruce Lyons)  To business strategists and industrial economists, as well as competition practitioners, it is interesting to reflect on a recent trend in vertical integration.  Google, Microsoft and even Amazon have been positioning in manufacturing, at least in part inspired by the success of Apple’s integrated business model.  Could this eventually lead to vertical silos that ossify each group’s dominance in segments of software and web retailing? Read the rest of this entry »

Merger Approval of Google-Motorola Mobility and the Failure of FRAND

February 22, 2012

(by Bruce Lyons) The European Commission and US DoJ have approved a (mainly) vertical acquisition of Motorola Mobility (MM) by Google because the specific transaction would not lessen competition.  They did so with weary resignation that it is part of the patent arms race into which they will be drawn to adjudicate in the coming months and years.  The underlying problem is that ‘fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory’ (FRAND) royalty commitments are not fit for purpose as part of standard setting agreements.  Read the rest of this entry »

Denys Gribbin – an appreciation

February 8, 2012

(by Bruce Lyons) We do not usually publish obituaries on this blog, but we have made an exception for an ‘unsung hero’ of the economic approach in UK competition policy – Denys Gribbin.  I first met him when I was a PhD student. Denys had already been the first Chief Economist at the OFT and had moved through other influential positions to the MMC.  I can affirm that he was enormously friendly to starting young economists and always encouraging us to apply industrial economics to cases and practical policy.  The following appreciation is by David Elliott. Read the rest of this entry »

‘The Hotel Stinks’: Online Reviews and Consumer Law

February 2, 2012

(by Daithí Mac Síthigh) Two stories in the news this week serve as useful reminders of the significance of consumer law for online review sites.  The subject of both reports is TripAdvisor, which was also the topic of a wry Channel 4 documentary late last year in the ‘Cutting Edge’ series (Attack of the Trip Advisors). Read the rest of this entry »