All eyes are on the European Union General Court, which is considering Google’s appeal of a case decided against Google Android, which was fined for anticompetitive practices by embedding Google Search as the default for Android devices. It is the first case since Microsoft was brought to court in 2007 to test Article 102 TFEU, the EU law for digital platforms bundling services, writes Dimitrios Katsifis, senior associate at the competition law firm Geradin Partners, at The Platform Law Blog. Not for the first time, Google justified itself in this case by portraying itself as a “neutral operator that carefully balances the interests of various stakeholders to secure the long-term integrity of the ecosystem.” That was part of Google’s advocacy in a suit before the Australian competition commission and with US regulators. This is the first time the argument will be tried in a top EU court.
It’s probably too early to say definitively, but it’s interesting to note that news and digital media publishers may have been the beneficiaries of Facebook’s wide outage on Monday. Andraz Tori, Outbrain’s head of recommendations and data science, tweeted a quick week-over-week graph of open web traffic during the time when Facebook and its stable of apps were down. Starting at about 7 a.m. ET, when Facebook service dropped, traffic jumped by almost 50% from the baseline. It will be interesting to see how that normalizes since Facebook’s return – perhaps some users had forgotten a preference for good ol’ fashioned web browsing – or how the effect played out by category, such as news vs. entertainment sites. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri tweeted that the outage “does feel like a snow day.” Except, unlike snow days, users can go Facebook-free any day they choose.