Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Google & Competition Law III

In the end, it is probably better to avoid limiting Competition Law to markets, and to define it by reference to competition instead. I was referred today to the definition of competition given by Stigler (1957), 65 JPE 1, who said that competition exists when two or more parties strive for something that they cannot all obtain. Following this definition, we could say that Competition Law deals with promoting competition in certain terms, i.e. with protecting competition where it exists, and promoting it where it does not.

Based on such an approach, it is obvious that Google competes, that its actions are legitimately within the ambit of the Competition Authorities, that it has a dominant position relative to its competitors, and that manipulating its search results to promote its own subsidiaries would constitute an abuse of dominance, being a form of monopoly leveraging.

The only question is whether this approach does not take us too far away from the text of the Treaty, and its orientation on markets involving bargaining between producers and consumers...

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