Few outside of Alphabet-Google understand the immense market, economic, and technological power of an unaccountable monopoly over the underlying software that controls most all mobile devices in the world. Fortunately EU antitrust enforcers are some of the few who understand it.
In the next several weeks, expect the EC’s Competition Directorate to decide that Google is in fact dominant with >90% share of Internet search in Europe and that Google has abused its search dominance by biasing its own Shopping service over competitors. It also could formally charge Google for abuse of its search dominance in contractually tying Google Search and other search-driven apps like Maps, YouTube, etc. to Android to extend its search dominance to mobile search and to the operating system market where Android now owns >80% share.
Google is cleverly and stealthily leveraging a Google-friendly-FCC and lax U.S.-Google antitrust enforcement to extend its global Android mobile operating system dominance to increasingly disintermediate and dominate the spectrum administration function embedded in the firmware of smartphones, connected cars, and Internet of Things devices.
There are troubling signals that the FCC is gearing up to further increase regulation of cable — on top of the extra-legal new utility regulation the FCC already did in its 2015 Open Internet Order.
What we have learned in the last two months is that Google is much more worried than it says about the risks it faces from a variety of real structural changes it may have to make in its core business overseas in the months and years ahead — where the vast majority of Google’s users are, and from where over 50% of its revenues come.
Kudos to Senators Mike Lee and Orin Hatch, and Rep. Blake Farenthold for their leadership and wisdom in advancing the SMARTER Act, H.R. 5402, “Standard Merger and Acquisition Reviews Through Equal Rules.”
Gconomy, Gclipse, Gvolution, Gvil, Goobris and other Google antitrust-relevant words join over 1700 new words and definitions added to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2015, available now in print and online at Merriam-Webster.com. These new additions to America’s best-selling dictionary reflect the growing influence Google is having on human endeavor.
Most have missed entirely the broader significance of the EC-DGComp’s laser-focused Google Statement of Objections (that charge Google is dominant in search and is abusing that dominance in Google Shopping by self-dealing via preferencing Google content over competitors’ content) in the broader context of the EU’s new “platform neutrality” principle to advance a European Single Digital Market.
Reading through David Kopel’s book today, I’m struck by how prescient he was a dozen years ago in his forecasts of changing technology, emerging competition, and the deadening influence of antitrust law in this arena of rapid change.
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