Google Lawsuit is the Largest Antitrust Case Against a Tech Company
Google was sued by the Justice Department of Trump’s administration in what is said to be the largest antitrust case against a tech company in more than two decades.
The lawsuit came after a year-long antitrust investigation by the DOJ in which tech platforms are scrutinized to see how they impact democracy and small businesses. Eleven states have joined the suit, namely, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.
A major congressional report was also released which claimed Google and other big tech companies are engaging in anticompetitive tacks using their “monopoly power.”
According to CNN, the DOJ made sweeping allegations that Google has “stifled competition to maintain its powerful position in the marketplace for online search and search advertising.”
Anticompetitive and Antitrust Behaviors
The complaint alleges a series of interlocking actions by Google that affected and prevented the competition from picking up and gaining a meaningful audience.
The allegations include Google paying billions of dollars annually to device manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, LG, and Motorola, as well as browser developers Mozilla and Opera to get them to make Google as their default search engines and prevent these companies to deal with Google’s competitors.
Google responded to this allegation saying that it is no different from companies paying to promote their products.
Roughly around 80% of the United States’ general search queries are owned controlled by Google.
The lawsuit is said to be vital else the world will lose the next wave of innovation and the public may never get to see the next Google, according to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.
Google said in a tweet that the “lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.” The complaint “relies on dubious antitrust arguments” and “would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”
The lawsuit also represents the growing criticism against “historic levels of economic inequality and corporate concentration in the United States”, particularly by former Democratic presidential candidates which include Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
President Donald Trump has also been vocal with his criticism of tech platforms. This could complicate, however, lawsuits against tech companies as it has been a longstanding custom for presidents to steer clear of government investigations and lawsuits to avoid perceptions of political motivation.
Google’s critics accuse the tech giant of prioritizing its own app and service promotions while stifling those of their rivals.
David Dinielli, a senior advisor at Omidyar Network and a former DOJ antitrust official, has stated that “Google search is not a neutral gateway to the information available on the web. Google search is a set of algorithms designed to make Google — or Alphabet, its parent company — the most money it can possibly make.”
The lawsuit could pose an unprecedented risk to Google’s advertising business as a whole, which gave it $134.8 billion in revenue last year, which is 84% of Google’s total business.
Google has also battled antitrust scrutiny and numerous multibillion-dollar fines from European regulators which the company protested.
Editor’s note on Google Sued by US Government; Google Antitrust and Anticompetitive Abuses:
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