Some of the biggest tech companies in the world are soon to be getting into trouble as they are getting called out on their monopolistic practices. Google is the next target it seems as it has just had an antitrust lawsuit filed against it by the US Department of Justice as well as 11 other US States.
“Google has willfully maintained and abused its monopoly power in general search services through anticompetitive and exclusionary distribution agreements that lock up the preset default positions for search access points on browsers, mobile devices, computers, and other devices,” the lawsuit says.
“For many years, Google has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising—the cornerstones of its empire.”
This is a pretty big deal for many of us, as Google has long remained a dominant leader in the market. And as well as know from watching Nvidia vs AMD or even Intel vs AMD, competition is good not just for consumers, but for innovation as a whole.
What this lawsuit is essentially saying is that Google is inhibiting the growth of healthy competition, as “no one can feasibly challenge Google’s dominance in search and search advertising,” said Attorney General William P. Barr.
Of course, Google has already responded to the lawsuit in a recent blog post by Kent Walker, the SVP of Global Affairs at Google, calling it a “deeply flawed lawsuit” which would actually hurt consumers rather than helping them.
“This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. To the contrary, it 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,” Walker said.
Walker continued to explain that Google’s agreements with device makers like Apple are “no different” from the agreements other companies use to distribute their own software, further explaining that Google’s agreements have repeatedly passed antitrust reviews.
But he didn’t stop there, Walker made the argument that consumers don’t just use Google because they have to, but because they actually want to, citing that Mozilla changed its default search engine to Yahoo, but many users changed it back to Google because they prefer it, and that it is incredibly easy to change the search engine to another one not run by Google on the Google Chrome web browser.
“We understand that with our success comes scrutiny, but we stand by our position. American antitrust law is designed to promote innovation and help consumers, not tilt the playing field in favor of particular competitors or make it harder for people to get the services they want.”
The last bit of information that is absolutely crucial to this lawsuit - and could have a serious impact on Google and their products - includes an order to possibly sell off some of Google’s assets in order to “cure any anticompetitive harm.”
What do you think? What Google products do you use daily? Is Google right in this situation? Will this just harm consumers? Or has Google been taking advantage of its monopoly? Who do you think will win? And if this lawsuit goes through, how will this affect Google and it’s consumers? Let us know your thoughts!