When I began to write the previous post I was far from thinking it was the first of a serial. However, the new step in the EU antitrust Google case gives a new example of the positive value that a Digital Single Market would have for the global digital economy. The implications of decision of the European Commission of sending a Statement of Objections to Google alleging the company has abused its dominant position in the markets for general internet search services and its final decision of the case will have implications beyond Europe and the search services market itself.
As in the case of the protection of personal data, the investigation may have a positive effect on the US consumers. The suspicions of abuse of dominant position by Google are nothing new. The FTC open an investigation on the matter in the US market in 2011 and conclude it in 2013 imposing minor changes to Google. Recently, a shade of doubt over that decision took form when a confidential report that apparently was not taken into consideration in the sentence appeared. Whatever the final conclusion of the EU investigation, the US consumer (and all the consumers worldwide) will be benefited. On one hand, it will show that being an Internet giant has as consequence the need to prove your fair practices in all the territorial markets. On the other hand, in case it is proved the abuse of position, it would show that it is not possible be effective in lobby actions forever and in all the different courts.
But the implications of the investigation on Google will be positive even for Google (and the rest of the GAFA team). It has been debated for long time if new ex-ante regulations are needed for Internet platforms. Some Europeans governments have claimed this kind of laws in several occasions. The EU antitrust case gives a chance to show if it is possible to apply the legacy legal framework and competition tools to the digital businesses. Whatever the conclusion, the case itself will show the limitations of the current tools and will give us a clue of the (limited) areas where we need to develop new rules. Any case, the possibility of an excessive regulation will diminish and jointly it will decrease the risk of stifling innovation.
I have the opinion that the European Union has had along its history more positive than negative effects around the world. It looks that the Digital Single Market would be a guarantee of the continuation of this positive impacts for the world in the XXI century.