Is Google the next Microsoft? Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Internet Search
AbstractInternet search (or perhaps more accurately `web-search') has grown exponentially over the last decade at an even more rapid rate than the Internet itself. Starting from nothing in the 1990s, today search is a multi-billion dollar business. Search engine providers such as Google and Yahoo! have become household names, and the use of a search engine, like use of the Web, is now a part of everyday life. The rapid growth of online search and its growing centrality to the ecology of the Internet raise a variety of questions for economists to answer. Why is the search engine market so concentrated and will it evolve towards monopoly? What are the implications of this concentration for different `participants' (consumers, search engines, advertisers)? Does the fact that search engines act as `information gatekeepers', determining, in effect, what can be found on the web, mean that search deserves particularly close attention from policy-makers? This paper supplies empirical and theoretical material with which to examine many of these questions. In particular, we (a) show that the already large levels of concentration are likely to continue (b) identify the consequences, negative and positive, of this outcome (c) discuss the possible regulatory interventions that policy-makers could utilize to address these.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 8885.
Date of creation: May 2008
Date of revision:
Search Engine; Regulation; Competition; Antitrust; Technology;
Other versions of this item:
- Pollock, R., 2009. "Is Google the next Microsoft? Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Internet Search," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 0921, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
- L10 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - General
- L50 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - General
- L40 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - General
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2008-05-31 (All new papers)
- NEP-COM-2008-05-31 (Industrial Competition)
- NEP-ICT-2008-05-31 (Information & Communication Technologies)
- NEP-IND-2008-05-31 (Industrial Organization)
- NEP-MKT-2008-05-31 (Marketing)
- NEP-REG-2008-05-31 (Regulation)
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