On 10th October 2020, in Washington DC, U.S.A Justice office and eleven state Attorneys General filed a lawsuit against Google for Violating Antitrust Laws in the U.S.A
The government lawyers accuse Google of using anticompetitive tactics in order to maintain and extend its monopolies in the market for intent search, search advertising. The lawsuit states ‘’two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy startup 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, (…)’’.
The accusations, mentioned about, are contrary to the provisions of The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1980. The federal statute prohibits activities that restrict interstate commerce and competition in the marketplace. According to Federal Trade Commission, the act was enacted to preserve free and unfettered competition as the rule of trade. In other words, the government design it to make sure that there is a fair competition in the market.
The Justice office claims that Google uses the practices which are detrimental to competition and prevent rivals from gaining a significant position within the market. For instance, they point out that Google paid milliard of dollars to companies such as Apple, LG, Samsung, and Motorola to preset its search engine as the default search provider. In many cases, especially to prevent Google’s counterparties from dealing with its competitors. The lawsuit also claims that the Google employees were given specified instructions on what language to use in emails. They were instructed not to use words like ‘’kill’’ or ‘’block’’ etc. competition and not to observe that Google has ‘’market power’’ in any market a miss.
There are only four significant general search providers with the market: Google, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, and Bing. Google dominates the United States market with 88% market share while the second company, namely, Bing has about 7% of search queries.
Google denies all the accusation, calling the lawsuit ‘’deeply flawed’’. Google Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker said ‘’ people use Google because they choose to, not because they are forced to, or because they cannot find alternatives’’.
It is the first antitrust case between a huge technology company and the US government since a famous lawsuit against Microsoft in 1998. The US Department of Justice accused Microsoft of using anticompetitive methods to ensure and maintain its monopoly position within the market. Microsoft lost the case, and it was found that its position in the marketplace amounted to monopoly. The
interesting fact is that Google was one of the companies that argued that Microsoft’s practices were
Google has already faced similar accusations in the European Union. Google was said to prevent its competitors from placing their search adverts on the various websites by a number of restrictive clauses imposed in the contracts with third-party websites. It was concluded that Google abused its market dominance, and they were fined.
The case is considered as one of the biggest competition cases in decades. Nevertheless, the case will take years before any conclusion will be reached.