The U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google on Tuesday, claiming the $1 trillion company uses its market power to fend off rivals and said nothing was off the table, including a breakup of the internet search engine and advertising company.
The lawsuit, which was joined by 11 states, marks the biggest antitrust case in a generation, comparable to the lawsuit against Microsoft Corp filed in 1998 and the 1974 case against AT&T which led to the breakup of the Bell System.
The lawsuit claims that Google acted unlawfully to maintain its position in search and search advertising on the internet. It states that “absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anticompetitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice, and stifling innovation.
The complaint says that Google has nearly 90% of all general search engine queries in the United States and almost 95% of searches on mobile.
“Google is now the unchallenged gateway to the internet for billions of users worldwide … For the sake of American consumers, advertisers, and all companies now reliant on the internet economy, the time has come to stop Google’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition.”
“Ultimately it is consumers and advertisers that suffer from less choice, less innovation and less competitive advertising prices,” the lawsuit states. “So we are asking the court to break Google’s grip on search distribution so the competition and innovation can take hold.”
More lawsuits could be in the offing since probes by state attorneys general into Google’s broader businesses are under way, as well as an investigation of its broader digital advertising businesses. A group of attorneys general led by Texas is expected to file a separate lawsuit focused on digital advertising as soon as November, while a group led by Colorado is contemplating a more expansive lawsuit against Google.
MacDailyNews Take: Can we get a swing with that sledgehammer, too, pretty please?
Again, Google is a massive problem that simply must be addressed. There is one “Big Tech” company that is really stifling competition and for which antitrust remedies are in order: Alphabet (Google).
When one search engine has 86% share of the worldwide market (and Google basically isn’t even used in China), there is far, far, far too much power concentrated in one company. The whole concept of the World Wide Web is destroyed when a sole gatekeeper basically controls what gets seen, read, and heard. It’s not open, it’s completely closed and controlled.
Publishers who want to be read, for example, spend an inordinate amount of time making sure they follow Google’s dictates, nebulously sussed from Google’s secret algorithm, formatting their sites, even writing their articles a certain way, including certain words they might not choose if allowed to write freely, simply to please Google’s algorithm.
If Google doesn’t like a site (imagine a site that believes Google’s Android is a stolen product and says so repeatedly), Google can hurt that site by, say, excluding that site from the News tab on Google (since 2009), so that the site is more difficult to find, hurting that site’s traffic and ability to generate revenue. (Is there a lawsuit there? Someday we might find out.)
Hopefully, lawmakers can come together to figure out a way to do something to remedy the horribly uncompetitive situation in internet search. Google is, and has been for years, a perfect example of why antitrust laws exist. — MacDailyNews, July 29, 2020
With this unprecedented power, platforms have the ability to redirect into their pockets the advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines. No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t. — MacDailyNews, November 9, 2017
Imagine if your livelihood depended on one company that had not only monopolized web search (and, thereby, basically controlled how new customers find you), but also controlled the bulk of online advertising dollars which funded your business and which they could pull, simply threaten to pull, or reduce rates at any time? Now also imagine if you believe this monopolist basically stole the product of another company that is the very subject of your business? How much would you criticize the monopolist thief’s business practices?
You might guess that it would be a tough road to walk. (We’re only imagining, of course!)
That would be a good example of why monopolies are bad for everyone.
The U.S. government has utterly failed to police Google. Because the people with the power to do so currently are corrupt. Follow the money. Hopefully, the European Union will help to correct the situation.
In the meantime, stop using Google search and Google products wherever possible. Monopolies are bad for everyone. — MacDailyNews, July 14, 2016