DMC Forum – Annual Event Platform Regulation: Good Principles

Hybrid Event – 1st of October, 2021

Background and Objectives

The regulatory debate on platforms and digital markets has rapidly moved from whether we need new rules to regulate activities and competition in the digital space to what the new principles for such a regulation should be. A plethora of legislative initiatives are being undertaken around the world, some (such as the European DMA act) at more advanced stage, others still under development. These new law proposals are advancing a mix of traditional and new concepts, logics and criteria for detecting and remedying to anticompetitive cases in digital markets. Traditional concepts such as “interoperability” and “portability” from telco regulation are often invoked as potential remedy to entrenchment problems due to excessive concentration of data in the hand of few powerful firms, along with new concepts such as “gatekeepers” (in the EU’s DMA proposal) or “UPSCAM” (in the German Act Against Restraints of Competition).

However, what the guiding principles of such regulation should be are largely left undefined. The DMA explicitly refer to two principles: fairness and contestability. Yet, what these principles mean, conceptually and in practice, is vague, and academics have started debating on their essence[1]. More fundamentally, how those principles link to the law’s provisions and restrictions imposed on designated gatekeepers and whether they should be guiding the ultimate objectives of platform regulation has been subject to criticisms [2]. The lack of clear principles is problematic on two fronts. First, it might lead to a fragmented regulatory environment, whereby each regulator comes up with its own set of obligations and restrictions. Second, it will limit the ability to develop coherent criteria of application of such provisions. On a more fundamental level is the question of what objectives we want to achieve and what principles should accordingly be established to pursue them.

In our DCM Forum Annual Event we re-launch the debate on platform regulation by taking a step back and asking this more profound question:


“What are good principles of platform regulation in digital markets?”


More specifically we will consider a number of related questions such as:

–       What is fairness in digital markets and how do we guarantee it?

–       There are different kinds of potential market contestability: which one shall we focus on and how do we identify contestability problems?  

–       Shall the focus be solely on competition restraints or also on value creation? What principles should be effective to guarantee that the two objectives are compatible?

–       What is the role of innovation ecosystems in digital markets? How do we incorporate ecosystem dynamics in the debate (and law drafts)?

This DMC Forum Annual Event brings together leading academic experts on digital platforms and ecosystems to address those questions, the implications for the regulatory measures being proposed, and possible ways to move forward.


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[2] See e.g., the discussion of some of the DMA criticisms before the EU Parliament, in particular the remarks advanced by Cennamo and Scott Morton in relation to the lack of clear principles.


Frederic Jenny, Competition law and digital ecosystems: Learning to walk before we run, Industrial and Corporate Change, 2021;, dtab047,

Michael A Cusumano, Annabelle Gawer, David B Yoffie, Can self-regulation save digital platforms?, Industrial and Corporate Change, 2021;, dtab052,

“Platform Regulation: Lessons from Utility Industries.” VOX, CEPR Policy Portal,

Jacobides Michael. and Lianos Ioannis (2021), ‘Ecosystems and competition law in theory and practice,’ Industrial &
Corporate Change, Special Issue on Regulating Platforms & Ecosystems,

Alaimo Cristina, Kallinikos Jannis. Managing by Data: Algorithmic Categories and Organizing. Organization Studies. 2021;42(9):1385-1407. doi:10.1177/0170840620934062

 Alaimo Cristina, Kallinikos Jannis, Valderrama Erika. Platforms as service ecosystems: Lessons from social media. Journal of Information Technology. 2020;35(1):25-48. doi:10.1177/0268396219881462

Cennamo  Carmelo, & Santaló  Juan. (2013). Platform competition: Strategic trade-offs in platform markets. Strategic Management Journal,
34(11), 1331–1350.
Cennamo, Carmelo, & Santalo, Juan.  (2019). Generativity tension and ´
value creation in platform ecosystems. Organization
Science, 30(3): 617–641

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Panel Speakers

Date: 1st of October, 2021

Time: 14:00 – 16:30 Central European Summer Time

Venue:  Porcelænshaven 22, 2000 Frederiksberg Room S.20

Panel Chair