How Do You Claim Antitrust Against Someone Who Has A Smaller Marketshare?

from the ah,-the-internets dept

Last week, we noted that Italian investigators were looking into Google News for alleged antitrust violations in not telling newspapers how it ranks stories. As ridiculous as that assertion is in the first place, it looks even more ridiculous when you realize (as Erick Schonfeld figured out) that Google News is actually a much smaller presence online than Italy's two largest newspapers online. It makes you wonder how you claim an antitrust violation against someone, when your own marketshare is larger and you control the established brand names in the market.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 12:29am

    because competition is sin

     

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  2.  
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    No thank you, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 12:36am

    It's called Berlusconi, right? The laughing stock of all politians (ever? could he be worse than Bush?)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3k9pMtrccQ

     

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  3.  
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    slander (profile), Sep 1st, 2009 @ 12:58am

    Because...

    One should never let facts get in the way of a good whine

     

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  4.  
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    Griff (profile), Sep 1st, 2009 @ 1:40am

    Market share ?

    This is like comparing Ford's market share with Avis.

    Google does not originate content like (presumably) the newspapers do, so comparing market share seems a bit misplaced. Online eyeball share perhaps.

    But that said, it's ridiculous to complain about its rankings. It's like suing a trade journal for demoting your press releases. (Which they are running for free). At least with Google there is (probably) a dispassionate formula, rather than an arbitrary editorial bias like in "old" media.

    Is there an equivalent for Adwords specifically for placing links to news stories ?

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 4:29am

    because it's not the same market. The newspapers are in the 'news reporting' market, Google news is in the aggregator market.
    So yes, it could be a monopoly if no-one does the same in Italy.

     

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  6.  
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    Luci, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 5:05am

    Re:

    Ah, yes. I see. Because they provide useful links directly /to/ the newspapers instead of printing the news up, themselves...

    You do realize how stupid that sounds, right?

     

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  7.  
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    Chuck (profile), Sep 1st, 2009 @ 5:22am

    DEBAR!

    New rule: Any lawyer that files an extremely frivolous lawsuit gets debarred. We save tax dollars, job opportunities in the legal field is opened, and the lawyers don't need to worry about losing their source of income as they are already filthy rich.

     

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  8.  
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    NullOp, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Smoke & Mirrors

    You claim antitrust in hopes that whoever hears the case will see your, nonexistent, point. Its a mind game. It has to be the answer as all other solutions simply make the originator of the complaint look stupid.

     

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  9.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Sep 1st, 2009 @ 6:39am

    Re:

    If it's not the same market as you say, then how can the two largest newspapers in Italy claim that Google is pushing them out of the market? I think that's the general point. The newspapers don't have a case because Google can't use it's size to push them out of a market that Google doesn't even occupy.

    It's just that much more inane when we see that the two newspapers have more viewers than Google.

     

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  10.  
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    Jrosen (profile), Sep 1st, 2009 @ 7:16am

    Re: DEBAR!

    Gods that would be nice, the problem is, that wouldn't really fix anything. It would just breed more lawyers, because just think of how much more law-sh!t there would be about 'yes this is frivolous' or not, taking up even more money, time and wasting it all.

    But yes, we do need to do something about the moronically frivolous lawsuits

     

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  11.  
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    dorp, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    because it's not the same market. The newspapers are in the 'news reporting' market, Google news is in the aggregator market.
    So yes, it could be a monopoly if no-one does the same in Italy.


    So if it is not the same market as newspapers, how are they threatened by it? You make zero sense, fred.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 9:12am

    Re: Market share ?

    "At least with Google there is (probably) a dispassionate formula, rather than an arbitrary editorial bias like in "old" media."

    I think this is the problem, they don't appreciate that they have to compete with everyone else and they want a government granted disproportionally unlevel playing field.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 9:34am

    Unfair competition not antitrust

    Markets are drawn by competitive lines. If newspaper sites and Google are serving the same market need, they are in the same market. Monopoly requires about 70% share, so Google doesn't have a monopoly.

    However, they might have an unfair competition claim, while doesn't require a monopoly. At least here in the US, you do have competitive rights to facts even if the facts are not copyrightable.

     

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  14.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Sep 1st, 2009 @ 10:48am

    Whisper Campaign?

    Hmmm. Wonder if this kind of thing is related to an organized effort to discredit Google in government circles.

    See this story for the kind of conspiracy theory that is now being rumored:

    http://www.dailyfinance.com/2009/08/28/microsofts-secret-screw-google-meetings-in-d-c/

    Whethe r its a conspiracy or not, there is no doubt many of Google's (perceived) competitors are well-entrenched businesses with long-standing ties to government, fear of change, and lobbying experience. Think newspapers, portals, TV, telecom, MSFT, and more. Of course these companies will try to paint Google as the bogeyman to government, and gullible/bribable elected officials will listen.

     

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  15.  
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    hegemon13, Sep 1st, 2009 @ 11:03am

    Hmmm

    This article makes no sense. I have no opinion on whether or not the Italian newspapers actually have a claim, as I have not done the research.

    However, there are certainly activities that are illegal by antitrust law no matter how large or small your market share is. Just because Google News is smaller does not make it impossible that they are using illegal business practices (again - not saying they are, just what's possible). For example, say there are 4 significant companies in a given market, and one controls 75% of the market. If the three comprising the other 25% decided to collude and price-fix in order to attack the larger company's market share, it's illegal. Small or not, collusion is an antitrust practice.

    Again, I don't know everything this particular case entails, but it doesn't matter. The argument presented, that they shouldn't be able to go after Google because Google is smaller, holds no weight.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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