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Is Google the Next Microsoft: Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Online Search


  • Pollock Rufus

    (University of Cambridge)


The rapid growth of online search and its centrality to the ecology of the Internet pose important questions: why is the search engine market so concentrated, and will it evolve towards monopoly? What implications does this concentration have for consumers, search engines, and advertisers? Does search require regulation, and, if so, in what form? This paper supplies empirical and theoretical material with which to examine 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; and (c) discuss the regulatory interventions that policy-makers could use to address these.

Suggested Citation

  • Pollock Rufus, 2010. "Is Google the Next Microsoft: Competition, Welfare and Regulation in Online Search," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(4), pages 1-31, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:rneart:v:9:y:2010:i:4:n:4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Caillaud, Bernard & Tirole, Jean, 2004. "Essential facility financing and market structure," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(3-4), pages 667-694, March.
    2. Gillett, Sharon E. & Lehr, William H. & Osorio, Carlos, 0. "Local government broadband initiatives," Telecommunications Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(7-8), pages 537-558, August.
    3. Jean-Jacques Laffont & Jean Tirole, 2001. "Competition in Telecommunications," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262621509, July.
    4. Jamison Mark A & Sichter James, 2010. "Business Separation in Telecommunications: Lessons from the U.S. Experience," Review of Network Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-27, February.
    5. Jullien, Bruno & Pouyet, Jérôme & Sand-Zantman, Wilfried, 2009. "Contracting and Regulation under the Threat of Duplication," IDEI Working Papers 563, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
    6. Hauge, Janice A. & Jamison, Mark A. & Gentry, Richard J., 2008. "Bureaucrats as entrepreneurs: Do municipal telecommunications providers hinder private entrepreneurs," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 89-102, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. Justus Haucap & Ulrich Heimeshoff, 2014. "Google, Facebook, Amazon, eBay: Is the Internet driving competition or market monopolization?," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 49-61, February.
    2. White, Alexander, 2013. "Search engines: Left side quality versus right side profits," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 690-701.
    3. Aktas, Nihat & de Bodt, Eric & Roll, Richard, 2013. "MicroHoo: Deal failure, industry rivalry, and sources of overbidding," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 20-35.
    4. Dolata, Ulrich, 2017. "Apple, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft: Market concentration - competition - innovation strategies," Research Contributions to Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies, SOI Discussion Papers 2017-01, University of Stuttgart, Institute for Social Sciences, Department of Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies.
    5. Jean-Pascal Bassino & Aurélien Faravelon & Stéphane Grumbach, 2015. "Cross-Border Data Exchanges : The Rise of Platform Economy in Asia," Post-Print hal-01245080, HAL.
    6. repec:oup:jcomle:v:8:y:2012:i:1:p:73-105. is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Engelhardt Sebastian von & Freytag Andreas & Köllmann Volker, 2013. "Wettbewerbspolitischer Handlungsbedarf bei der Verknüpfung von zweiseitigen Märkten im Internet: Der Fall Google," Zeitschrift für Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 62(3), pages 311-332, December.
    8. Dolata, Ulrich, 2014. "Märkte und Macht der Internetkonzerne: Konzentration - Konkurrenz - Innovationsstrategien," Research Contributions to Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies, SOI Discussion Papers 2014-04, University of Stuttgart, Institute for Social Sciences, Department of Organizational Sociology and Innovation Studies.
    9. Cédric Argenton & Jens Prüfer, 2012. "Search Engine Competition With Network Externalities," Journal of Competition Law and Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(1), pages 73-105.
    10. Haucap, Justus, 2015. "Ordnungspolitik und Kartellrecht im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung," DICE Ordnungspolitische Perspektiven 77, University of Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf Institute for Competition Economics (DICE).

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