Google is the biggest and most dangerous internet content monopoly around. It controls 88% of search and its range of services have allowed it to lock in its monopoly. The DOJ and state AG lawsuit had been baking for a while.
Now it’s finally here.
The Department of Justice filed its long-awaited antitrust lawsuit against Google on Tuesday alleging the company has unlawfully maintained a monopoly in search by cutting off rivals from key distribution channels.
Eleven Republican state attorneys general have joined the DOJ as plaintiffs in the case: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas.
Google’s stock barely moved following news of the suit. Shares remained slightly positive as of Tuesday morning, though they lost steam once the filing went public.
That’s probably because…
1. The history of anti-trust actions by the DOJ and against Big Tech hasn’t been good. Google has a lot of resources to throw at this fight and in the current environment, Democrat federal judges will instinctively side with Google.
2. A lot of the market is betting on a Biden win. And in that case this lawsuit would soon be history.
The Justice Department claims that Google has “foreclosed competition for internet search” through exclusionary agreements that deny rivals the opportunity to achieve the necessary scale to challenge its dominance.
DOJ claims Google holds 88% of the general search market in the U.S. with 94% of mobile searches occurring on its services. The department claims Google’s conduct has harmed consumers by lowering the quality of search services and reducing choice.
There’s little question of that. Google Search is terrible and getting worse. It’s also highly politically biased.
It also claims Google owns more than 70% of the search ads market and has used its alleged monopoly power to charge more for lower-quality services than would be possible in the face of competition, according to the suit.
And that goes back to Google’s original DoubleClick sin. And that goes back to the Clinton administration.
Google requires phone manufacturers who use its operating system to agree to strict limits on their ability to sell Android devices that don’t comply with Google’s standards. It then gives the manufacturers access to its “vital proprietary apps” in exchange for their agreement to take several other Google apps and prevent users from being able to delete some of them.
That one’s familiar to any Android user.
This is the beginning of a long struggle that may take years, but it’s the first real shot fired across the bow of Big Tech. And it’s one of the stakes in the election.