Solving Google's Antitrust Dilemma: Cognitive Habits and Linking Rivals When There is Large Market Share in the Relevant Online Search Market
P. Sean Morris
University of Helsinki - Faculty of Law
March 7, 2013
Wake Forest Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law, Forthcoming
Do you use Google.com? Familiar with “search,” “maps,” “news,” “calendar,” and more? How about if in that little black toolbar on Google’s homepage, there is also “yahoo,” “bing,” “yandex” and other search providers? This paper considers this argument in the context of Google’s global market share. The claim is that Google should link rivals in its main toolbar, under the essential facilities doctrine. The paper argues that Google.com has become an essential facility, and in order to solve its antitrust dilemma under the essential facilities doctrine, it should link rival search services, as a form of public service – and thus lives up to its motto – “don’t be evil.” In discussing Google in an antitrust context, one can certainly argue that regulation is needed to control runaway market power. This is largely true, if a firm has dominant power, as a result of its market share, and it can be proven that the firm is abusing that dominant power. However, even if the firm has dominant power, that firm can self-regulate or promote fair competition, if it considers its products and services vital in the market which it operates. This is not a wild proposition, however, the idea of linking rivals should not be dismissed either. The arguments in this paper will offer one such proposition of solving Google’s antitrust dilemma in the relevant search engine market, where a firm is perceived to have market power, and is alleged to have abuse that market power.
Keywords: Google, Antitrust, Market Share, Online Search Market, Rivals, Cognitive Search Habits
JEL Classification: K21, L12Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: March 30, 2013
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