BUSINESS-TO-business e-marketplaces successfully jumped a major regulatory hurdle when MyAircraft.com was finally given clearing for take-off by the European Commission.
The aviation industry internet start-up – a joint venture by Honeywell, United Technologies and i2 – was the first e-marketplace to come under scrutiny by the EC for possible breaches of competition rules.
MyAircraft was given the green light after a routine one-month investigation by Brussels revealed no reason to block the venture as anti-competitive or likely to lead to price-fixing.
The MyAircraft decision is a significant boost for e-marketplaces, many of which consist of major industry players joining forces to extract the cost benefits of online trading.
However, observers of the EC’s regulatory regime cautioned other planned start-ups against reading too much into the MyAircraft ruling.
The EC has stated it will consider any new ventures – whether online or not – on an individual basis. Approval will depend on which partners are involved, their relationship with the rest of the supply chain, and most crucially of all, whether they can convince the authorities that the e-marketplace will be genuinely neutral.
Covisint, the automotive e-marketplace involving Ford, GM, Daimler Chrysler, Renault/Nissan and Toyota, is likely to prove a far greater test for the regulatory body. The venture expects to be formally notified to the EC authorities at any time.
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