Anti-trust proceedings against Google could mark a shift from the times when it, along with Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, dictated terms in the tech world. Now, ironically, it’s Google’s turn in the monopoly hot seat:
After investigating Google for more than a year, the Justice Department has finally issued its antitrust lawsuit against the search giant, alleging that the company is “unlawfully maintaining monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising in the United States.”
The case is the most aggressive action the US government has taken in decades against any of the technology companies that now buttress a huge portion of the American economy. It would be the first significant legal challenge that Google has faced from regulators despite years of investigations into the company’s practices.
Google’s dominant position in search and search-advertising is foundation of the company’s extensive advertising, data mining, video distribution and information services conglomerate.
Alphabet, Google’s parent company, holds a commanding lead in both search and video. The company dominates the search market — with roughly 90% of the world’s internet searches conducted on its platform.
In the lawsuit, the Department of Justice will say that Alphabet’s Google subsidiary uses a web of exclusionary business agreements to shut out competitors. The billions of dollars that the search giant collects wind up paying mobile phone companies, carriers and browsers to make the Google search engine a preset default. That blocks competitors from being able to access the kinds of queries and traffic they’d need to refine their own search engine.
Google has issued a brief statement in response to the suit: “The lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed,” the company said. “People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.”