POLITICO’s recent publication of hundreds of pages of 2011-2013 case documents from federal regulators are alleged to reveal favoritism in the Obama-era Federal Trade Commission’s investigation of Google’s dominance in online advertising.
This “revelation” unites Rep. Ken Buck, R-CO, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-CT, in calling for a new round of hearings into Google’s algorithms and business practices.
While we’re strolling through the past, it is worth noting that Judge Robert H. Bork and economist Gregory Sidak authored a 29-page analysis of the merits of the case against Google at that time.
“None of the purported antitrust problems that Google's critics have raised indicates that Google is behaving anticompetitively," Bork and Sidak concluded. “Given the serious factual, logical, and economic flaws in the antitrust complaints about Google's practices, one can reasonably conclude only that Google's competitors are seeking to use antitrust law to protect their own market positions.”
George Priest, the Yale Law School professor and noted antitrust scholar, said at the time: “Google’s large market share is a result of the superior product that they’ve created.”
We should not forget that Google’s dominance is still fairly recent. With the advent of blockchain and AI, the market and technological change are our best bets to maintain competition. Lawsuits and hearings, on the other hand, will be a boon only for those who charge billable hours.