Understanding Google's Search Platform and the Implications for Antitrust Analyses

Journal of Competition Law & Economics, Volume 14, Issue 2, 1 June 2018, Pages 311–329

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-24

25 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2018 Last revised: 6 Sep 2018

See all articles by John M. Yun

John M. Yun

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty

Date Written: March 8, 2018

Abstract

Google Search and its algorithm have been subject to intense antitrust scrutiny from competition authorities both in the United States and around the world. Google’s introduction of Universal Search in 2007 integrated specialized search results within a narrow category (for example, shopping or local businesses) with its customary “blue links.” This integration led to objections that Google was engaging in “search bias,” and thus foreclosing specialized search rivals to the detriment of competition and consumers. In this paper, we describe the precise nature of the anticompetitive claims against Google and develop an economic framework to assess these claims.

We rely upon our economic framework to offer insights for competition authorities to consider for future cases involving platforms and allegations of foreclosure and exclusion.

Keywords: platforms, multi-sided markets, two-sided markets, antitrust, Google, Federal Trade Commission, FTC, search engine, search bias, foreclosure, raising rivals' costs

JEL Classification: K21, L12, L40, L41, L42, O31

Suggested Citation

Yun, John M., Understanding Google's Search Platform and the Implications for Antitrust Analyses (March 8, 2018). Journal of Competition Law & Economics, Volume 14, Issue 2, 1 June 2018, Pages 311–329; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 18-24. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3126848 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3126848

John M. Yun (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

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