Tech And Antitrust Stratechery By Ben Thompson
Google: Again — and note a developing theme here — Google’s anticompetitive behavior is relatively clear. First, the company consistently favors its own properties in search results, particularly “above-the-fold” — that is, results that are not actually search results but which seek to answer the user’s query directly. A partial list:
- Google by-and-large removed video segments from competing properties in favor of YouTube videos
- Google offers local results from Google Maps above search results that tend to favor Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc.
- Google offers hotel and flight listings above search results that tend to favor Booking, Expedia, etc.
- Google displays AMP-enabled websites (a Google technology) above search results that are agnostic about how a web page is displayed.
- Google displays tweets for individuals (thanks to a beneficial relationship with Twitter) above search results that tend to favor LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.
Then, of course, there is Android, where Google leveraged the Play Store to force Android OEMs to feature Search and Chrome, and further forbade said OEMs from shipping any phones with open-source Android alternatives (a la Microsoft).
Ben does a great job outlining all the antitrust cases for the big tech companies. For Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, there doesn’t appear to be much of a case.
Google is another story.