Tuesday saw the Department of Justice filing antitrust charges against Google for the monopolization of ad, and search markets- something that has led to the biggest case of antitrust in the history of the country. The Wall Street Journal reports that this case will be focused on search, and search-focused advertising- going against the grain of investigating into the company’s broader business of targeted ads. The complaint states that there have been countless advertisers who have to pay tolls to the search advertising system of Google, and the monopolies of general search text advertising. The consumers in America have been forced to accept all the policies laid down by Google- something that involves the practices of privacy, and the usage of personal data. It has also come to notice that newer models of business aren’t being able to come out of the shadow of Google.
What Are The Main Antitrust Charges Against Google?
In one of the many calls that came this morning, the Department of Justice had officials emphasizing the power and sale of control that Google exerts in the search market. The conduct of Google has been termed illegal under several principles of antitrust and thereby must be stopped. It has also been stressed upon that Google has ownership and control over several search distribution channels- which account for over 80 percent of the search queries in the country. The senior adviser in the Justice Department, Ryan Shores spoke about how they have already asked to break the stronghold that Google has over the distribution of search so that innovation and competition can enter the market.
Google has completely denied all antitrust charges. They have mentioned that such a high share of the search in markets is entirely a result of consumer choice. The lawsuit placed upon them by the Department of Justice, to the knowledge of Google, is entirely flawed. They believe that people have been using Google for so long simply because they choose to do so- not because there aren’t any alternatives, or that they are forced to do it.
Are There Other Antitrust Charges Against Tech Companies?
This has been termed as one of the most ambitious antitrust lawsuits ever taken against a software company- which is going to bring in several investigations going parallelly amongst the state attorney generals, and the Department of Justice. The Justice Department did brief the Attorney Generals of the State about the cases last month, as stated by the Washington Post. There are around 11 state attorney generals who would be signing onto this case- but rumors state there might be more who could just file individual antitrust suits.
Google is no stranger to antitrust charges, but it has never been on such a scale. The most recent investigation took place in 2013- when a change in the AdSense policies of the company was necessary to head off an investigation from the Federal Trade Commission before any legal action was taken formally. Google has also faced a long list of fines from European Union regulators- which include a fine of €1.5 billion on its AdSense policy, and a €4.3 billion fine over Android software bundling.