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Time for an unbundling? Mark Knol

Google and Europe come to blows, but will they break up?

Google’s operations in Europe have come under fire recently, with the UK proposing new corporate tax reforms that are being dubbed a “Google tax” for targeting the multi-national. And this follows hot…
Unlike America, Australia is overbanked. Nicholas Eckhart/Flickr

Murray inquiry not made for a future with fewer banks

A key component of the Financial System Inquiry handed to Treasurer Joe Hockey this week was that “the financial system should be subject and responsive to market forces, including competition”. But on…
Problem solved. Jin Thai

Rubik’s Cube trademark puzzle solved by EU court

The Rubik’s Cube has confounded millions of people, including myself since discovering it in my uncle’s house as a child. And now the iconic three-dimensional puzzle has been the subject of an EU ruling…
The ABC’s focus on digital will not help it make a case for its uniqueness. Dan Peled/AAP

The ABC’s ‘me too’ strategy puts it on track for redundancy

Is the ABC trying to make itself redundant? Because that appears to be its strategy. Here’s why. The ABC is expensive. In 2013 it was allocated more than A$1 billion of taxpayer funds. The ABC claims…
A green anole, clinging to a palm frond with nicely silhouetted toepads. Yoel Stuart

Invasive species trigger rapid evolution for lizards in Florida

Invasive species colonize and spread widely in places where they are not normally found. Invasives often affect native species by eating them, out-competing them and introducing unfamiliar parasites and…
A study found that sports teams with too many stars are susceptible to hierarchical disputes and deteriorating performance. KeithAllison/Flickr

Can organizations have too much talent?

On October 28, journalist Matt Taibbi resigned from First Look Media, a fledgling news organization only ten months old. According to an article published on The Intercept: Taibbi and other journalists…
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is revisiting well-trodden telecommunications competition issues. Gary Schafer/AAP

Turnbull leaves door open to break up NBN Co

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has not ruled out a proposal by the expert panel reviewing the telecommunications…
Leaving a sour taste. Tesco struggles to find a value proposition. StefZ

A wicked blueprint for tackling Tesco’s woes

Imagine taking over the reins of a firm which only a few years ago was regarded as one of the best run companies in the UK, but now routinely posted declining market share, moribund profits, and mounting…
With more private sector involvement in aged care, health and education, competitive neutrality will become more important than ever. Julian Smith/AAP

Government Inc: time to revisit competitive neutrality

A month after receiving the first round of submissions, the Harper review of competition policy is knuckling down to work. With around 300 submissions received to date, the range of issues raised is diverse…
With true market competition, universities will have a new purpose to fulfil. mirsasha/Flickr

Pay up: the market forces about to hit universities

The debate about opening Australian universities to competition has so far been dominated by discussions about fees. While this is of particular interest to students whose education will receive a smaller…
The Competition Review is small business minister Bruce Billson’s baby; but the focus is now far wider. AAP/Daniel Munoz

An ambitious agenda for Harper’s competition review

At last, the government’s Competition Policy Review’s terms of reference have been released, and the panel, with Ian Harper as chair, announced. The minister for small business, Bruce Billson – charged…
Qantas is poised to receive some form of government assistance, but will it act in the national interest? griffs0000/Flickr

Qantas can’t have it both ways on foreign ownership

The Federal Government appears ready to “throw a lifeline” to Qantas, which has been seeking a government-backed debt guarantee and a lifting of the 49% foreign ownership limit in the Qantas Sale Act…
Qantas management are weighing up available options to bring the troubled airline back to profitability.

Cost-heavy Qantas must look beyond government bailout

Yesterday’s Qantas guidance of a first-half loss of up to A$300 million is a continuation of poor financial performance which began in 2009. It’s not since then that Qantas has delivered a return on equity…
One tough mudder. The 621st Contingency Response Wing

Tough Mudder: a modern-day cheese rolling competition

Tough Mudder is an endurance foot race over 12 miles that belongs to a class of obstacle courses known as MOB, or mud, obstacles and beer, that have seen an explosion in popularity since 2010. They include…
A new grocery code of conduct provides new rules for a sector subject to price wars, but will not solve all market problems. Lukas Coch/AAP

Coles and Woolworths code useful, but beware disputes

Coles, Woolworths and the Food and Grocery Council have released a draft industry code of conduct to help govern their relationships with suppliers. The code will be “voluntary” under section 51AE of the…
Commonwealth Bank chief Ian Narev announces a record full-year profit of A$7.8 billion, ahead of this week’s $2.1 billion quarterly result. Paul Miller/AAP

Bank profits grow, and so does the criticism. Who’s right?

Like most companies, banks report their profits twice a year. Each time the majors report we see headlines about the size of the profits and implicit or explicit criticism of the amount – this time about…
Costco is looking to expand its US petrol business to its Australian stores. lokeswari/Flickr

Costco’s entry into petrol is unlikely to help most consumers

In a new twist in the long-running Australian petrol wars, Costco is preparing to join the discount petrol market. Sydney’s second Costco outlet, scheduled to open later this year, will reportedly sell…
Legally, it would be extremely difficult to prove shopper docket fuel discounts are anti-competitive. Michael Welsh via Flickr

Are shopper dockets anti-competitive? Good luck proving it

A curious feature of the election campaign to date has been the lack of focus on competition and consumer policy. Generally this subject rates highly, as parties try to curry favour with consumers and…

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