American law recognizes that some critically important businesses must accept all customers and treat everyone fairly because they are not easily or economically efficient to duplicate — think railroads, electricity providers and telephone companies.
As Ohio’s attorney general, I went to court last month asking for a judicial declaration that Google has evolved into such an entity: a public utility of internet search.
Google is ubiquitous. More web traffic goes to Google and YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, than the other top 50 websites combined. And it’s not just internet traffic: Google dominates internet search, cornering nearly 90 percent of the U.S. search market, and even more globally. Bing, the runner-up in internet search, claims a mere 6 percent of the U.S. market and 2 percent globally.
More than 30 states, including my own, have joined in a bipartisan antitrust action against Google. But, separately, Ohio is pursuing Google under the…