Working paper

Antitrust issues raised by answer engines

This paper outlines some early antitrust issues related to answer engines and the response competition authorities should adopt.

Publishing date
13 June 2023
ChatGPT homepage

Executive summary

Rapid development of generative artificial intelligence chatbots like ChatGPT is leading search engine providers to move from search to answer engines. Unlike search engines, which provide search results in the form of blue links to content creators, answer engines generate personalised answers through a conversation with end users. This revolution impacts the internet ecosystem of content creators and the digital advertising market. This paper outlines some early antitrust issues related to answer engines, from the transition from search to answer engines (sections 2 and 3) and the response competition authorities should adopt (section 4). It finds that search and answer engines complement and compete with each other. While the answer-engine market is still at an early stage of development, it already raises some competition issues in relation to data scraping, vertical integration and unfair terms and conditions. Intervention by competition authorities is more likely than not to prevent market power in this new market. In this regard, competition authorities should act to preserve dynamic competition and minimise adverse effects on content creators. Finally, the paper concludes with several research questions for future research (section 5).

About the authors

  • Christophe Carugati

    Dr. Christophe Carugati was an affiliate fellow at Bruegel on digital and competition issues until December 2023.

    He holds a Doctor in Law and Economics on Big Data and Competition Law from Paris II University, a Master in Law Economics from the European Master in Law and Economics (EMLE, University of Bologna, Hamburg, and Vienna), a master in Business Law from Aix-Marseille University, and a double Bachelor in Law and Economics from Toulouse School of Economics (TSE). His academic research focuses on the adaption of competition law to the data-driven economy and the regulation of platforms.

    He teaches a competition law seminar at Lille University to master students. Before joining Bruegel, he was a senior policy analyst at the US technology think-tank The Center for Data Innovation, where he worked on digital issues. He also has some experience in practicing competition law in the context of internships in law firms in Paris.

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