Google is facing a series of lawsuits in 2020 and 2021 that challenge some of the most fundamental parts of its business, and of the internet itself — Search, Android, Chrome, Google’s digital-advertising business, and potentially other services as well.
The U.S. Justice Department (DOJ) has brought a case alleging that Google’s deals with Android smartphone manufacturers, Apple, and third-party browsers to make Google Search their default general search engine are anticompetitive (ICLE’s tl;dr on the case is here), and the State of Texas has brought a suit against Google’s display advertising business. These follow a market study by the United K’s Competition and Markets Authority that recommended an ex ante regulator and code of conduct for Google and Facebook. At least one more suit is expected to follow.
These lawsuits will test ideas that are at the heart of modern antitrust debates: the roles of defaults and exclusivity deals in competition; the costs of self-preferencing and its benefits to competition; the role of data in improving software and advertising, and its role as a potential barrier to entry; and potential remedies in these markets and their limitations.
This Truth on the Market symposium asks contributors with wide-ranging viewpoints to comment on some of these issues as they arise in the lawsuits being brought—starting with the U.S. Justice Department’s case against Google for alleged anticompetitive practices in search distribution and search-advertising markets—and continuing throughout the duration of the lawsuits.
- Geoffrey A. Manne, president and founder of the International Center for Law and Economics (ICLE)
- Sam Bowman, director of competition policy for ICLE
- Eric Fruits, chief economist for ICLE
- Gus Hurwitz, associate professor of law and Menards Director of the Nebraska Governance & Technology Center and director of Law & Economics Programs
- Nicolas Petit, joint chair in competition law at the Department of Law and at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies and professor of law, the College of Europe
- Thom Lambert, the Wall Chair in Corporate Law and Governance and professor of law, University of Missouri
- Lawrence J. White, professor of economics, New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business
- Ramsi Woodcock, assistant professor of law; secondary appointment: assistant professor of management, Gatton College of Business and Economics
- Aurelien Portuese, Director of Antitrust & Innovation Policy, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Law Professor, Brussels School of Governance, Free University Brussels (VUB)
- Brian Albrecht, assistant professor of economics, Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University
Series Posts (in order of posting)
- Introductory Post (Bowman)
- Google and Shifting Conceptions of What It Means to Improve a Product (Woodcock)
- The Antitrust Prohibition of Favoritism, or the Imposition of Corporate Selflessness (Portuese)
- The Case Against Google Advertising: What’s the Relevant Market and How Many Are There? (Fruits)
- Why the Federal Government’s Antitrust Case Against Google Should—and Likely Will—Fail (Lambert)
- Trade Promotions in High Tech (Albrecht)
- The DOJ’s Antitrust Case Against Google: A Tough Slog, but Maybe an Intriguing Possibility? (White)