Debating Google

Geoffrey Manne —  16 December 2009

Apologies for the late notice on this.  Last week I was on a Federalist Society panel discussing Google’s antitrust issues with Rick Rule, Susan Creighton and Scott Cleland.  The event description follows, and you can find audio of the panel here.  It was an interesting discussion, full of nice ironies in that Microsoft’s chief outside antitrust defender was attacking Google with theories similar to those used against him in the DOJ case, and Google’s chief outside antitrust defender was the author of antitrust case against Microsoft and author of the paper (on cheap exclusion) that was being used as the basis for the case against . . . Google.  Good fun.  Any thoughts from anyone who attended?

Is Google Monopolizing Something, and If So, What?

Federalist Society Corporations, Securities and Antitrust Practice Group

December 7, 2009Is Google Monopolizing Something, and If So, What?.  Last June, Christine Varney, then a lawyer in private practice, now President Obama’s nominee to be the next Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, warned that Google, not Microsoft, is the monopolist of the future.  “For me, Microsoft is so last century. They are not the problem,” Varney said at a June 19 panel discussion sponsored by the American Antitrust Institute. The U.S. economy will “continually see a problem — potentially with Google” because it already “has acquired a monopoly in Internet online advertising.”  Concerns of this nature ultimately led Tom Barnett, the last Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, to threaten a Sherman Act monopolization lawsuit if Google went through with plans to buy Yahoo.  Google, on the other hand, contends that the concerns are completely misplaced.  “The nature of the Internet is just a fundamentally different world from the sale of packaged software or the bundling of software with OEMs (original equipment manufacturers),” according to Kent Walker, Google’s General Counsel.  “The standard line we have is that competition is just one click away.”

[ Full Audio]
Audio Running Time: 01:32:58

Panelists:

  • Mr. Scott Cleland, President, Precursor LLC and Chairman, NetCompetition.org
  • Ms. Susan Creighton, Partner, Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, PC
  • Prof. Geoffrey Manne, Founder and Executive Director, International Center for Law & Economics and Lecturer in Law, Lewis & Clark Law School
  • Mr. Rick Rule, Partner, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
  • Moderator: Mr. Montgomery N. Kosma, Vice President of Legal Services Outsourcing, CPA Global

Geoffrey Manne

Posts

President & Founder, International Center for Law & Economics