Evan Schouten Participates in Bundling Panel at Spring 2013 ABA Antitrust Section Meeting

April 24, 2013

Analysis Group Vice President Evan Hoffman Schouten outlined economic concerns related to product bundling -- the practice by which a firm may sell two or more products together at a price that is different from what the sum of the prices would be if the products were sold separately -- in a panel discussion at the Spring meeting of the ABA Antitrust Section. The meeting was held April 10--12 in Washington, D.C.

In the session "Little Joy or Guidance for Bundling Discounters," Ms. Schouten discussed the reasons why companies may adopt this common approach to pricing -- for example, to reduce costs, obtain preferred distribution, price discriminate, or foreclose rivals -- and the desire of courts, regulators, and businesses to identify a bright-line test to provide safe harbor to product bundles that do not harm competition. "The problem with the proposed safe harbor tests is that even when a bundle is procompetitive, it may fail the test, indicating a possible problem where there is none," Ms. Schouten explained. "In such cases, companies may be reluctant to offer the bundle -- even when it enhances efficiency or benefits consumers."

The panel also featured attorneys from Microsoft Corporation; Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP; Hilliard Shadowen LLC; and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.