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
25 Pages Posted: 1 Mar 2018 Last revised: 6 Sep 2018
Date Written: March 8, 2018
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
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