Edited by Björn Lundqvist and Michal S. Gal
Chapter 9: The European Commissions decision in Google Search
In December 2017 the European Commission published a decision on one of the most debated cases of modern antitrust history. Following a seven-year investigation, the Commission found that Google abused its dominant position in the general online search market on the grounds that it was giving prominent placement to its own comparison shopping services. Google Search deviates from past decisional practice, suggesting a paradigm shift. Far from being price driven, this decision places weight on parameters such as the non-monetary data-driven transactions between a search engine and its users and the relevance of search results. This chapter discusses key aspects of Google Search by placing the reasoning underpinning the decision in the wider context of the practice the Commission has developed in digital media markets. In doing so, it demonstrates not only that EU competition law allows for an interpretation that protects non-price competition in digital markets, but also that, were the Commission willing to engage in such an interpretation, the outcome of its decisions would render competition enforcement more effective.
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