What if Google and Apple waged war at each other?
I mean real war, not patent war.
Manjoo plays Google. Yglesias plays Apple. And the outcome is spectacular. A must read.
The story has several antitrust angles:
- Google’s “operation ghostfruit” shares analogies with the Commission’s “search bias” theory of harm;
- Google’s dominance is certainly undisputable in the narrow, antitrust sense. But it is far less clear from a business perspective. If anything, the story shows that a company deemed dominant by antitrust standards – i.e. in a given relevant market – can be seriously threatened by a company active in a wholly distinct market. Put simply, the battlefield in the high tech sector is not an antitrust relevant market. It is the sector as a whole. And companies that sell distinct unsubstitutable products may well – and do – engage in competition. A further reason to abandon market definition in high tech industries, and switch to novel concepts (the “relevant sector”)?;
- Dominant firms may rationally try to exclude non competing firms;
- Antitrust agencies (and governments) are instrumentalised by dominant firms to exclude other companies;
- Microsoft is no longer a player