ELI Austrian Hub Held an Evening Lecture on ‘Essential Platforms’


On 19 May 2021, the ELI Austrian Hub organised its third lecture in its evening lecture series on antitrust law.

The lecture, which was moderated by Susanne Augenhofer (Professor at the University of Innsbruck; Co-Chair of the ELI Austrian Hub), invited Nikolas Guggenberger (Executive Director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School) to present the main findings of his recent research paper on ‘Essential Platforms’. Guggenberger stated that ‘digital platforms are the railroads of the modern era’, because they serve as essential facilities for the digital economy. While bridges and tunnels used to restrict freight train traffic in the United States, today, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple (GAFA) control the bottlenecks of the Internet. Through these bottlenecks, they supply consumers with services and goods – in direct competition with other companies. GAFA and other platforms leverage their exclusive control to exclude competitors from markets, thereby harming consumers and suppressing innovation. As a remedy, Guggenberger suggested granting competitors fair and equal access to these platforms. Therefore, he called for a renewal and expansion of the essential facilities doctrine and its adaption to digital markets.

The lecture was followed by a lively discussion with participants.

The next lecture in the series will take place on 9 June 2021.