‘But What Do We Do if Google Is Legitimately Just a Better Search Engine?’

Mike Masnick, writing at TechDirt:

And that raises a real question. How does antitrust handle a situation where the company that is so dominant is in that position because is legitimately offers a better product by a wide margin.

I would love to see more real competition in the search space. Bing and DuckDuckGo continue to just not cut it. I’m intrigued by startups like Kagi (which I’ve been using, and which actually seems pretty good), but it’s not clear how antitrust helps companies like that get a wider audience.

I’m increasingly coming to the belief that we’ve spent way too many years equating antitrust with increased competition, when it’s one of the least effective mechanisms for enabling greater competition. The situation with Mozilla and Firefox seems to just put an exclamation point on that. If the DOJ wins this lawsuit, what will it actually do to help get more competition on the market? More competition that is actually good and that people want?

I think it’s pretty clear that Apple and Google’s TAC deal is the result of fair competition, not an obstacle to it. The iPhone is by far the best mobile platform in the world, and Google search the best search engine (or at least the best free one — Kagi is so good I’d say it gives Google a run for its money straight up on results quality). Apple is beset on all sides by competitors to the iPhone — including Google itself! Google has always had competition in search. I for one really do think Google has let its search results quality decline, but even so, they’re still undeniably the best among the mainstream search engines.

So of course there’s some sort of lucrative — and mutually beneficial — deal between Apple and Google to keep Google the default for search in Safari.

Tuesday, 14 November 2023