By Natalia Moreno Belloso & Nicolas Petit, European University Institute
The newly enacted Digital Markets Act (DMA) finds itself at a crossroads. The DMA can develop into a specialist field of competition law for digital platforms or it can evolve into a new field of EU law, detached from competition law. The DMA’s ultimate trajectory will depend on the legal characterization given to the DMA. Is it a special competition law regime or an original instrument distinct from competition law? This paper lays the groundwork for characterizing the DMA by offering a complete descriptive analysis of the instrument. Among the elements discussed are the twin concepts of “gatekeepers” and “core platform services”, which together condition the DMA’s scope of application, as well as the legal obligations imposed on gatekeepers. The paper proposes a novel categorisation of the obligations, showing that each obligation can be associated with at least one of two conventional competition law concerns (exclusion or exploitation). The discussion shows the difficulty of pinpointing the exact nature of the DMA. We argue that this ambiguity creates challenges for the practical implementation of the DMA.