As the concepts of network effects, tipping, and lock-in have grown in importance with the rise, growth, and current ubiquity of platforms, data analytics, and computer software in the modern economy, competition concerns have followed. Considered through the lens of competition policy generally and antitrust law specifically, interoperability emerges as an indispensable part of the answer to these competition concerns, but one that requires careful implementation to navigate the inevitable frictions with intellectual property, privacy, and other doctrines that rub up against antitrust and competition policy. To the extent courts, regulators, and policymakers contemplate interoperability as a cure for network effects and other market failures, they will need to think carefully about how to strike the balance between sacrificing privacy and mandating interoperability, using the right combination of antitrust and regulation.
By Laura Alexander & Randy Stutz1
Interoperability is increasingly recognized as a core legal and regulatory concept for the modern internet economy. This is befitting in light of the rise, growth, and current ubiquity of platforms, data analytics, and computer software in the economy, which have elevated the importance of the concepts of network effects, tipping, and lock-in. Hard questions involving interoperability were preordained to follow.
In this article, we consider some of these hard questions through the lens of competition policy ge!-->…