Google Can't Break Anti-Trust Laws Because It Doesn't Have A Monopoly

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 11 2012 8:53 AM

Google Can't Break Anti-Trust Laws Because It Doesn't Have A Monopoly

MG Siegler and John Gruber are rightly aggrevied by Google's hot new idea of integrating Google+ with regular search. Google's game here is clear enough. Possessed of a portfolio of great widely used products, plus a social networking product that's not good enough to persuade people to switch over from Facebook or Twitter, they want to leverage the products they have into promoting Google+. As someone who loves Chrome, Google search, Google Maps, etc. but doesn't like Google + that's annoying for me. But raising the spectre of antitrust law in this regard is bound to founder on the fact that there's no monopoly power for Google to be abusing. A 65 percent market share in web search is big, but by no means a monopoly. And there are basically zero barriers to switching from Google Search to Bing. I did it a couple of months ago on my Mobile Safari browsers because Google was annoying me, and there's no discernable quality difference (I use Chrome on my MacBook Air). Meanwhile Microsoft, which owns Google's biggest search rival, still has the dominant position in the desktop OS market and the leading web browswer and everyone seems to love their new mobile phone OS.

Beyond Bing-Google competition, it's also not clear to me that there are any huge barriers to entry here that would prevent Apple or Facebook or Amazon or any other large tech company from entering the web search business if Google started churning out an inferior product. Right now nobody wants to get into the market because nobody has a very credible story to tell about why you should stop using Google. Microsoft got in anyway and has—at great financial cost to itself—strong armed its way into a hefty chunk of market share. But if Google starts really degrading the quality of its search product in a way that erodes its market share, other firms can sweep into the business. A lot of this tech industry vertigal integration is extremely annoying—Apple TV can't play widely used video formats, Google won't upgrade its Maps ap for iPhone, etc.—but there's too much competition for any of it to be illegal.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

Even by Russian Standards, Moscow’s Anti-War March Was Surprisingly Grim

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

The Best Thing About the People’s Climate March in NYC

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

John Oliver Debunks the Miss America Pageant’s Claim That It Gives Out $45 Million in Scholarships

Trending News Channel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM Watch Flashes of Lightning Created in a Lab  
  News & Politics
The World
Sept. 22 2014 12:30 PM Turkey Just Got Forty-Six Hostages Back From ISIS. How Did That Happen?
Sept. 22 2014 12:44 PM The U.S. Is So, So Far Behind Europe on Clean Energy
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 22 2014 1:22 PM Is Arabic Really Just One Language? 
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM Escaping the Extreme Christian Fundamentalism of "Quiverfull"
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 22 2014 1:10 PM One Photographer’s Beautiful and Devastating Response to Climate Change
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 12:14 PM Family Court Rules That You Can Serve Someone With Legal Papers Over Facebook
  Health & Science
Sept. 22 2014 12:15 PM The Changing Face of Climate Change Will the leaders of the People’s Climate March now lead the movement?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.