FILE PHOTO: A Google sign is shown at one of the company’s office complexes in Irvine, California, U.S., July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

Google is not only a company, it’s a verb, and that’s a big reason why the U.S. Department of Justice is suing the tech company for what it calls abusing extensive power to preserve a monopoly over Internet searches and online advertising. The lawsuit is the biggest in years by regulators against a major tech company. 

The suit focuses on the billions of dollars Google pays each year to ensure its search engine is installed as the default option on browsers and devices such as mobile phones. “Google has thus foreclosed competition for internet search,” the lawsuit said. “General search engine competitors are denied vital distribution, scale, and product recognition, ensuring they have no real chance to challenge Google.”

Google called the suit “deeply flawed.” “People use Google because they choose to,” Google Public Policy tweeted on Tuesday morning, “not because they are forced to or because they can’t find alternatives.”

Eleven state attorneys joined the feds in the lawsuit, which stated that Google holds 88% of the general search market in the U.S., with 94% of mobile searches occurring on its services. Google obtained its market dominance, the lawsuit states, through exclusionary agreements that deny rivals a fair chance to achieve the kind of growth needed to challenge it. That allowed Google to own more than 70% of the search ads market. 

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

The lawyer who helped take down Microsoft says the DOJ’s case against Google is an ‘important start’ – Protocol – 10/20/2020
He’s the veteran Silicon Valley lawyer who played an instrumental role in getting the government to bring a successful antitrust case against Microsoft in the 1990s, and he has continued to fight for aggressive antitrust action in the tech industry to benefit smaller players in the ecosystem.

The Anticlimax of the Google Antitrust Suit – Wired – 10/20/2020
The DOJ has specifically evoked the Microsoft case by the rare action of using the trust-busting Sherman Act to accuse the former “darling of Silicon Valley” of being an anticompetitive monopolist.

What Is Happening With the Antitrust Suit Against Google?New York Times – 10/20/2020
The suit is the first antitrust action against the company, owned by Alphabet, to result from investigations by the Justice Department, Congress and 50 states and territories.

If Google Is Breaking the Antitrust Laws, What’s the Right Remedy? – Bloomberg – 10/20/2020
The big question will be what remedies the government seeks. Breaking Google up into a bunch of Googlettes would probably be both ineffective and harmful to users of the internet. 

Google is facing an antitrust showdown with the DOJ more than 22 years after Microsoft’s watershed case. Here’s why the government scrutinized Gates and how it played out for the company. – Business Insider – 10/20/2020
It’s hard not to draw parallels between Gates’ situation in the late ’90s and what Google is now facing.

It’s Google’s World. We Just Live In ItNew York Times – 10/20/2020
About 20 years ago, I typed Google.com into my web browser for the first time. It loaded a search bar and buttons. I punched in “D.M.V. sample test,” scrolled through the results and clicked on a site.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

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