As part of our current investigation, we are trying to determine whether the company holds a dominant position in internet search. Google is the browser of choice for very many of us; but dominance is not the same as abuse of dominance. Abuse is a conduct that protects or extends dominance by illegitimate means, and we still have to conclude whether this is the case for Google.
To do that, we have to bear in mind that the firm operates in a market that is changing at lightning speed. This is a crucial aspect of our efforts to understand whether and to what extent the company holds an entrenched position.
Among other aspects, we need to consider carefully in our analysis is the fact that company operates a two-sided platform, where advertisers’ fees finance a service that users do not have to pay for. This aspect of Google’s business is forcing us to take special care as we conduct our assessment of the relevant product and geographic markets, which is an important stage in our assessment.
Another important issue in this case, for instance, is determining whether Google holds a position of gate keeper and is able to influence the behaviour of internet users. Finally, the Google case is also a good example that timely intervention is crucial in fast-moving technology markets, which often feature network and lock-in effects. As the Court of Justice has recently stated in the Telia/Sonera case, action is required “before the anti-competitive effects of a strategy are realised”.