Geoffrey Manne in National Review on the EU Google Android Fine

Geoffrey Manne, ICLE President, was quoted in National Review for his position on the soundness of the Google/Android allegations in the EU:

The European Commission also charged Google with obstructing the development of competing Android operating systems. If true, that makes Amazon’s Fire tablets — which run a forked version of Android and are second only to Apple’s iPad in worldwide tablet shipments — an inspirational tale of overcoming obstacles to success.

In reaching its decision, the European Commission claimed that Apple iOS and Android are not competitors. This is a surprising conclusion given that 89 percent of respondents to the commission’s own survey said they were. It’s also odd that vertically integrated firms such as Apple, which operates a closed platform, seem safe from antitrust liability so long as exclusivity occurs within the firm rather than with partners up and down the supply chain. As Geoffrey Manne, president of the International Center for Law and Economics, observed, “Apple earns more revenue in an average quarter from iPhone sales than Google is reported to have earned in total from Android since it began offering it in 2008.”

Donald Trump may have been on to something when he tweeted, “I told you so! The European Union just slapped a Five Billion Dollar fine on one of our great companies, Google. They truly have taken advantage of the U.S., but not for long!” Or as Saku Panditharatne, an augmented-reality entrepreneur, more elegantly put it: “EU tech regulation is the real trade war.”

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