Google Search and the Law on Dominance in the EU. An Assessment of the Compatibility of Current Methodology with Multi-Sided Platforms in Online Search

55 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2014

Date Written: September 18, 2014

Abstract

Business platforms that utilise, or are based upon, internet technology are omnipresent in consumers daily lives. Since the dawn of the World Wide Web, the amount of web content has increased greatly. Simultaneously, business interests have sparked, meeting the arisen demand for particular online services. As a consequence, economists have defined a novel market in these sectors, namely that of multi-sided platform markets. To an important extent, these markets experience network effects, which can strengthen a platform operator’s position in relation to competitors. In turn, competition authorities have witnessed various dominant undertakings emerging. The focus of this article is on one particular internet sector, to wit, that of World Wide Web Search, and on one firm in particular, Google Incorporated. It critically analyses how the Google Search algorithms are shaped from a technological perspective, how these are or can be categorised in accordance with the economic theory of multi-sided platform markets, and how these perform under current dominance law analysis in the European Union, more specifically Art. 102 TFEU. To that end, it will also take into account the recent Google Commitments procedure by the European Commission.

Keywords: Internet Search, Dominance, Article 102 TFEU, Multi-Sided Platform Markets, Network Effects, Commitments

JEL Classification: K21

Suggested Citation

Herz, Martin, Google Search and the Law on Dominance in the EU. An Assessment of the Compatibility of Current Methodology with Multi-Sided Platforms in Online Search (September 18, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2497932 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2497932

Martin Herz (Contact Author)

University of Groningen ( email )

P.O. Box 800
9700 AH Groningen, Groningen 9700 AV
Netherlands

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