The US Department of Justice (DOJ) wants to break Google’s iron grip on search and search advertising. But if that’s the end game of the antitrust lawsuit unveiled today, don’t expect the government (or Google-haters) to get what they want.

For years now, the Justice Departments and 11 Republican-led states have been working to knock Google off its pedestal as the leading search engine. And now, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen is alleging that Google violated Section 2 of the Sherman Act. This follows a 2019 investigation into “market-leading platforms” and their competitive practices. Those of you with long technology memories may recall that the last important time the Sherman Act was used against a company was in 1998 when the DOJ used it on Microsoft.

What the DOJ alleges

The Justice Department, in its filing in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, claims Google has created numerous exclusionary agreements that collectively lock up how users access search engines and the Internet. How? By requiring that Google be set as the preset default search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide and, in many cases, prohibiting preinstallation of a competitor. In particular, the complaint alleges that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:

  • Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of any competing search service.
  • Entering into tying and other arrangements that force preinstallation of its search apps in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of user preference.
  • Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default – and de facto exclusive – general search engine on Apple’s Safari browser and other Apple search tools.
  • Generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization.

Google’s defense? “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to — not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.”

READ  Flock Freight raises $50 million to match shippers with freight transportation

Google’s got a point. Yes, it dominates search. By StatCounter’s most recent figuring, 88.14% of all US searches go to Google. Microsoft Bing comes in second with 6.67%, then Yahoo, 3.19%, followed by DuckDuckGo, 1.67%.

Therefore, the DOJ claims: “Two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy start-up with an innovative way to search the emerging internet. That Google is long gone. The Google of today is a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet, and one of the wealthiest companies on the planet.”

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.





READ SOURCE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here