Geoffrey Manne on Google Missouri Suit in Bloomberg Businessweek
Geoffrey Manne was quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek on the pending antitrust litigation against Google that AG Josh Hawley is pressing. Even though the suit itself is unlikely to resolve in Hawley’s favor, it could yet have longterm negative implications for Google:
No serious legal expert thinks Hawley and his modest team will be able to prosecute Google successfully on their own. But an antitrust lawsuit doesn’t have to be a winner to be damaging, says Geoffrey Manne, executive director of the International Center for Law and Economics, a nonprofit think tank. In addition to an FTC investigation, Microsoft Corp. faced a series of lawsuits brought by ambitious state attorneys general. A federal judge in 2000 ordered that the company be broken up, but it negotiated a settlement during the appeals process that required it merely to make its software development tools available to other businesses.
Microsoft was eventually outmaneuvered in the online market by smaller companies—most notably Google and Facebook Inc., which came to dominate internet services and social media. Manne, who worked at Microsoft in the mid-2000s, attributes its fall from supremacy partly to a sense of caution that the company developed during its years of bruising litigation. “It doesn’t even matter if you’re found liable,” he says. “It can still have a big effect. If Google isn’t fearful, they should be.”