WASHINGTON, D.C. – Robert H. Bork, Jr., responded to the filing today of an antitrust lawsuit against Google by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Robert H. Bork, Jr., Foundation President:
“From its dramatic opening lines, to the breathless descriptions of Google’s size – such as italicizing ‘billions’ – DOJ’s filing often reads more like a political document than a legal analysis of genuine economic harms.
“The filing acknowledges that consumers can easily change default settings from Google to Bing or DuckDuckGo. But, the document says ominously, ‘they rarely do.’ DOJ calls this ‘de facto’ exclusivity. Another way to put that is that millions of consumers are exercising their de jure right to the free service of their choice.
“There are many other flaws in the logic of this document. For example, this filing conflates general search with product search. From DOJ’s language, you’d think Google is the Standard Oil of product searches. In fact, traditional search engines are a distant No. 2 when consumers begin product searches.
“It is this kind of thumbing of the scales that gives this filing the feel of a political document. It is a series of charges that seem cobbled together to satisfy the grievances of politicians just before an election, not a thoughtful take on the future of search.
“If the Department of Justice and attorneys general get their way, this filing will reshape business operations in ways that no lawyer is qualified to make. If so, we can expect unintended consequences for consumers that will be worse than anything in the complaint.
“Turning innovation into litigation is bad news for actual users of social media and many small businesses. Let us hope the courts reintroduce a reality check and return to the only standard that counts – what is best for consumers.”
The Bork Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization with the mission of extending the legacy of the late Judge Robert H. Bork, scholar, jurist and public intellectual.