GEOFFREY MANNE ON THE RISKS OF SUING GOOGLE IN IRISH EXAMINER - International Center for Law & Economics

GEOFFREY MANNE ON THE RISKS OF SUING GOOGLE IN IRISH EXAMINER

Geoffrey Manne was quoted in the Irish Examiner on the costs associated with suing large companies like Google:

If the internet’s potentates are frightened, however, they’re doing a good job of hiding it. Google has appealed the European Commission’s decision and has vigorously defended itself online. The company’s arguments are the same ones that it was putting forth on company blogs over the course of the investigation. “We disagree with the European Commission’s argument that our improved Google Shopping results are harming competition,” Google’s top lawyer wrote in one post. The commission “drew such a narrow definition around online shopping services that it even excluded services like Amazon,” undermining the contention that Google is dominant. “Google delivered more than 20bn free clicks to aggregators over the last decade,” he wrote in another post. Forcing it to “direct more clicks to price-comparison aggregators would just subsidize sites that have become less useful for consumers.” Google’s data indicates that users appreciate how the search engine has shifted over the years. “That’s not ‘favoring’” Google’s interests, the company said. “That’s giving customers and advertisers what they find most useful.”

Some legal theorists think that Google might have a point. “To what extent are consumers, rather than competitors, being harmed by Google?” says Hovenkamp, the antitrust scholar. “If the answer is ‘not much,’ then I’m suspicious of an antitrust remedy.” Others say the risks are too high. “There are very real costs associated with suing a company like Google,” says Geoffrey Manne, executive director of the International Center for Law & Economics, a nonpartisan research center. “You’re potentially impairing a firm that provides vital services to millions of people, and potentially benefiting competitors who don’t deserve that support.”

Click here to read the full Irish Examiner article.