Google just got served.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed
an antitrust suit against Google last Tuesday. This is big
. The tech world hasn’t tangoed with antitrust on this scale since the government swung its axe at Microsoft back in ‘98.
What’s the allegation?
The DOJ claims
Google uses anti-competitive tactics to hog the search engine limelight. Things like:
- Exclusive contracts to become the default search engine on devices.
- Sharing advertising revenue with manufacturers to lure them into these contracts.
- Preloading its (un-deletable) search app onto Android phones.
As a result, Google owns 90% of global browser usage. And the DOJ doesn’t think Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo (I don’t know what this is either) should go gently into that virtual night.
But Google doesn’t want to hear it,
calling the suit “deeply flawed
.” Its defense? People are free to download other search engines. It’s not Google’s fault they choose
The key to antitrust cases is consumer harm, and Google execs are sticking to the story they haven’t caused any damage. According to Fortune
, Google’s arguments include: a) its services benefit consumers; b) it has plenty of competition from Twitter and Amazon; c) its exclusivity contracts are no different to Coca-Cola buying prime shelf space at the grocery store.
There are two ways a Google v. DOJ fight could go down:
Google loses and has to change up its business (like maybe selling off Chrome). Google calls this “Code Red.”
Google wins and dashes the government’s hopes of slaying other antitrust villains (Facebook, Amazon).
what happened in the EU might play out again i.e. Google is fined
billions for dominating the market and then continues to dominate the market anyway.
P.S. if the thought of 'Yahoo-ing’ stuff gives you anxiety, rest assured Google isn’t being chopped up anytime soon. It took the government 3 years to reach an agreement with Microsoft.