Google and the Trans-Atlantic Antitrust Abyss

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During the late 2000s, several jurisdictions, including the EU and the U.S., opened investigations into potential antitrust violations by the Internet search firm, Google, for alleged bias in the ranking of the links returned in response to search queries. While the EU investigations in 2017 resulted in a record EUR 2.42 billion fine (followed by further in 2018 and 2019), the U.S. proceeding came to a close in 2013 with a brief statement by the Federal Trade Commission exonerating Google of antitrust law violations. These diametrically opposed
outcomes occurred despite the similarity at the core of the single-firm antitrust doctrine that prevails on the two sides of the Atlantic and the near indistinguishability of the factual allegations of Google’s conduct raised in the two jurisdictions. In this paper, we outline and compare the merits of the two cases in an attempt to reconcile the different outcomes, with a particular focus
on the theories of harm examined by the two agencies and the supporting evidence they considered.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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