GEOFFREY MANNE ON CHROME AD BLOCKER IN AXIOS
Geoffrey Manne was quoted in Axios on the antitrust claims involving Google’s new ad blocker in its Chrome web browser:
Why it matters: The move is meant to help clean up the web, and create better ad experiences for all Chrome users, but some see it as an antitrust problem, because the world’s biggest advertiser will have the ability to block ads through a browser it owns.
While U.S. antitrust officials have been pretty quiet about the news since this summer, E.U. regulators have been more vocal about their concerns. In response to the implementation news over the summer, European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager responded on Twitter: “We will follow this new feature and it’s effects closely.”
Others think an antitrust argument would be difficult to make. “If the ad-blocker improves Chrome by building into it the ability to thwart harmful ads (say, ads with malware or that slow computers) regardless of ad platform, and if users can continue to install other ad-blockers, an antitrust case would be a very hard sell,” says Geoffrey A. Manne, Executive Director of the International Center for Law & Economics.