June 23, 2011

FTC Will Have Difficulty Proving Google is a Harm

Adam Thierer

Senior Research Fellow

The FTC is preparing to launch a formal antitrust investigation into Google and it’s hard to see how the government will be able to build a case against Google, as the FTC will need to prove consumers have been harmed by Google’s prolific presence in the market.  
 
The market for search isn’t even 15 years old, and it’s still evolving rapidly. Google has simply created a higher quality product that consumers prefer, and there is nothing stopping other companies from entering the market and offering new or better services.
 
America’s global advantage in the high-tech marketplace will be hurt if the United States leads a regulatory effort against Google since the Europeans are sure to jump onboard fairly quickly, creating more regulation of this important sector.

It’s not wise to ask the FTC to monitor search results and emerging digital markets on a daily basis. The government’s track record of micro-managing high-tech markets is not encouraging.