The “legacy” communications industries — plain old telephone service, fixed and mobile broadband access, cable and satellite video distribution — afford two useful teachings for a way forward in the Google search engine antitrust case, including a way past the conundrums presented by the complaint filed against Google by the Department of Justice. First, be careful not to throw out the baby of the competition you want with the bathwater of the exclusivity arrangements you do not like. Second, to promote competition, nurture a competitor: find a white knight or two that are not burdened with market power baggage of their own, and give them the resources to compete.

By Pantelis Michalopoulos & Andrew Golodny1

 

I. INTRODUCTION

The communications industries range from plain old telephone service, through broadband access, whether fixed or mobile, to cable and satellite video distribution. These industries are not exactly passé compared to the online platforms such as the search engine “market” that Google has so admirably revolutionized and may (or may not) dominate today. After all, Google search queries need a pipe to travel from us, the hopeful searchers toiling on our computers, tablets or smartphones, to Google servers. Even more important, the pipe is necessary for the return trip back to us, bringing a cornucopia of audio and video that condenses real and imaginary worlds on one small screen in ways that would have been incredible to time travel

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