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.

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Comments on “How Do You Claim Antitrust Against Someone Who Has A Smaller Marketshare?”

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Griff (profile) says:

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 ?

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Jrosen (profile) says:


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

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

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:

Whether 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.

hegemon13 says:


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.

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