The following post was originally included as part of our recently published memorandum “Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024”.

Antitrust in 2023 was marked by a series of policy developments—some still nascent, some ripe for enforcement for the first time.  In the U.S., the FTC and DOJ finalized their drastically transformed merger guidelines.  In the EU, landmark new digital regulations became applicable for the first time.  And the UK government introduced a bill promising major new digital and consumer protection rules. 

On 20 November 2023, the Digital Markets, Competition, and Consumers Bill (DMCC) cleared the report stage and an expedited third reading in the House of Commons, at which a series of significant amendments were passed. 

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a landmark piece of legislation granting unprecedented powers to the European Commission to regulate large digital platforms. The DMA targets platforms that operate as gatekeepers between businesses and users, hold an “entrenched and durable position,” and operate one or more core platform services (CPSs).

The explosion in the development of generative AI has been referred to as an “Oppenheimer” moment.  Just last week, a group of more than 350 executives and scientists jointly stated that “[m]itigating the risk of extinction from AI should be a global priority alongside other societal-scale risks such as pandemics and nuclear war.”  And more than 1,000 tech leaders have called for a moratorium on AI development until regulations governing its safe use are devised. 

The UK Government has published its long-awaited Digital Markets, Competition and Consumer Bill, including a wide-ranging and far-reaching set of reforms to UK competition and consumer law, along with a new regulatory regime for digital markets.

Rapidly emerging artificial intelligence (AI) technology is poised to transform how businesses operate across almost all sectors, from social media to education to healthcare. Globally, governments and regulators are starting to react to the potential risks, but also opportunities, that AI and machine learning models can bring.  Earlier this month, data protection authorities in Italy, Canada and South Korea have opened a series of investigations into data privacy issues related to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, with the Italian agency temporarily banning the use of ChatGPT in the country.

Last year we noted that U.S. antitrust enforcement was in a period of nearly unprecedented public attention and policy debate, and also that the Biden Administration seemed likely to launch significant new policy initiatives as the year progressed.