A long overdue antitrust push is gaining steam. But it’s focusing on large technology companies like Facebook Inc. and Google-parent Alphabet Inc., which present complex problems that classic antitrust approaches won’t always solve.

The cases are based on very standard stuff. The U.S. Justice Department is accusing Google of illegally preserving its dominant market share in search and search advertising by paying and pressuring phone makers to install Google as their default search engine. Meanwhile, the Federal Trade Commission and a coalition of states are suing Facebook for anti-competitive behavior because of its ownership of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Noah Smith is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He was an assistant professor of finance at Stony Brook University, and he blogs at