ICLE Affiliate Nicolas Petit on EU Google/Android Decision in The Hill
ICLE Affiliate Nicolas Petit published a piece critiquing the EU’s record-breaking Google Android fine:
With its $5 billion fine against Google, the European Commission (EC) just applied to the search giant an old U.S. political trick: gerrymandering; the idea that if antitrust watchdogs draw markets narrowly enough, every company can be made to look like an evil monopolist.
Evidence of competition among Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google (FAANG) is all over the place. Three weeks ago, Facebook launched Instagram TV, throwing the gauntlet at Google on online ads.
But to an antitrust hammer, everything looks like a nail, and in Brussels, antitrust officials see a Google monopoly everywhere they look. Recently, the EC declared Google dominant on the Android operating system for mobile phones. Just about a year ago, it found Google dominant in general internet search services.
This new case displays an old trick well-known by antitrust experts. It frames a firm within a tightly defined market to expose a dominant share. For regulators, antitrust gerrymandering is a tempting cheat. Once the label of “dominance” is attached to a company, most of an infringement is established: the rest — proving an abuse — is just a walk in the park.