Exploring new ways to ensure interoperability under the digital agenda

Inge Graef, Peggy Valcke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This article seeks to analyze the initiative of the European Commission that studied the feasibility of measures that would lead significant market players to license their interoperability information under the Digital Agenda.

The significance of the abuse of dominance regime and the electronic communications framework in ensuring access to interoperability information in the ICT sector is studied by way of analyzing legislation and case law. Against the background of these two existing regulatory regimes, the proposals that the Commission made in its recently published Staff Working Document are evaluated.

The Microsoft case illustrates that the abuse of dominance regime under European competition law is not very effective to remedy interoperability issues in a structural way. An ex ante regime will enable the ICT industry to reap the full benefits of interoperability on a broader scale. Since the Commission's initiative seems to target interoperability among software products, the electronic communications regime is not applicable. A new regulatory regime should therefore be established. As the desirability of a mandatory regime can be questioned, the adoption of soft law measures seems to be the preferred option.

By putting the initiative of the Commission to examine measures that promote access to interoperability information under the Digital Agenda into its broader regulatory context, the article contributes to the discussion on the possible ways to ensure interoperability in the ICT sector.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-16
Number of pages10
Journalinfo - The journal of policy, regulation and strategy for telecommunications, information and media
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Interoperability
  • Competition law
  • Digital Agenda
  • Electronic communications law


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