A Google Monopoly Isn't the Point

Much has been made of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s admission on Wednesday that the Web giant might be a monopoly, which came during his testimony before a Senate hearing into Google’s market dominance and its effect on consumers and the marketplace. Despite howls of outrage at Google’s size and power in the search market, the fact remains that—for the purposes of U.S. antitrust law, at least—being a monopoly isn’t illegal. What is illegal is either acquiring that monopoly by nefarious or anticompetitive means or using that dominant position in a way that harms the market for those services. The problem with applying this to Google is that even if you assume it has a monopoly and is behaving in an anticompetitive manner, it’s not at all clear how that is bad for consumers.

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