Gus Hurwitz and Brian Albrecht on the DOJ’s Google Case

The Drum – ICLE Director of Law & Economics Programs Gus Hurwitz and Chief Economist Brian Albrecht were quoted by The Drum in a story about the antitrust case brought by the U.S. Justice Department against Google. You can read full piece here.

“Anyone who has been in sales knows that there can be intense pressure to ‘make your numbers.’ Sometimes that means making short-term decisions that generate quick revenue but are bad for the business longer term,” says Gus Hurwitz, senior fellow and academic director at University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition.

“As with having market power, this isn’t necessarily illegal,” Hurwitz says. “But it is dangerous: raising your prices is one of the fastest ways to lose customers. And, unlike in the search market, it is far less clear whether Google has market power in ads – Meta and Amazon have been growing and newer entrants like TikTok have been gaining a substantial foothold.”

… Antitrust law expert Hurwitz suggests that “there’s always a tradeoff in trials over how much should be open to the public.” As he put it to The Drum: “These are important public events, but they also significantly intrude upon private rights. The Department of Justice pushed the envelope a bit early in the trial with how aggressively they were sharing information.”

…Some competition experts, however, say that Google’s dominance over Microsoft in the search market isn’t necessarily unfair if Google’s product is simply superior. “Google definitely has a competitive advantage. That is why they are so popular. But they also have a competitive advantage because they are so popular,” says As Brian Albrecht, chief economist at the International Center for Law & Economics, a nonprofit research organization. “The question is why. Competitors like Microsoft have access to tons of data and high quality talent, as well as the money to spend, but they struggle to replicate Google’s quality. That’s not necessarily unfair, and is more often than not is the natural outcome of the competitive process.”