Europe’s Antitrust Charges Against Google Won’t Stick

In an article now online at Foreign Affairs, TechFreedom President Berin Szoka and International Center for Law and Economics Executive Director Geoffrey Manne explore the European Union’s antitrust case against Google and place it in the global conflict of visions of Internet governance:

Regulators around the world have grown increasingly uncomfortable with the way business is being done on the Internet. From Brussels to Buenos Aires, they are most frustrated with Google, far and away the most popular search engine and advertising platform. As the company has evolved, expanding outward from its core search engine product, it has come to challenge a range of other firms and threaten their business models. This creative destruction has, in turn, caused antitrust regulators — usually prodded by Google’s threatened competitors — to investigate its conduct, essentially questioning whether Google’s very success obligates it to treat competitors neutrally…

The digital world may not be perfectly self-correcting; antitrust law may on occasion play a useful, if invisible, role in disciplining corporate behavior. But ultimately, the Internet is driven by disruption from technological change and shifting consumer demand. The wise regulator would exercise restraint.