On Tuesday the 21st, the US Department of Justice along with 11 other US states filed an Antitrust lawsuit against the $1 trillion mega cooperation. This comes after months of talking in Washington about taking down some of the big tech companies over their monopoly in the industry.
The lawsuit could see not only the end of Google as a company and the leading website browser, but could also begin a crusade against big tech and their tyranny in the industry.
Google has been underneath the radar for years now for it’s incredibly shady behaviour. Software companies, such as Apple, have to provide a default web browser for their users. Consumers will typically then use the browser provided, not bothered to change them.
Google took advantage of this, and paid billions to these wealthy corporations to make it’s search engine the default web browser on every single one of their products, controlling the entire market. In 2020, Google controls 86% of the search engine market, giving them full control of not just search engines, but also the internet as a whole. Google has used its control over the search engine market to make it harder to access non Google products, giving their other products such as Youtube and Gmail an effective monopoly.
It’s unprecedented control over the internet has resulted in dangerous consequences for the consumer and daily life. In 2019, Google paid $170 million for collecting children’s personal information to sell them targeted ads on youtube. It’s also monopolised on online news, stealing a large chunk of advertising revenue from articles. It’s even given bias to big businesses so they get exclusive treatment with searches. Experts have found that Google’s search algorithm has favoured those that are using Google’s advertising service, such as Facebook, Amazon and many more. In 2019, Google made a whopping 3,200 changes in it’s search algorithm to favour certain results.
Google has been charged for violating the Sherman Antitrust act, an incredibly serious accusation. It has been used in the past against similar corrupt monopolies to essentially break apart the business. US standard oil, for example, once controlled 90% of the oil industry in the US. After it was found guilty, it was broken apart into 26 different companies! A former US department Justice member said that a successful trial could see Google’s many products, such as the Android phone and Chrome, break off into their own companies.
(Standard oil’s monopoly influenced the US economy and many businesses, similar to Google)
However, Google isn’t the only tech company under red alert. This lawsuit could be signifying the beginning of a crusade from the government against the monopolies in the tech sector. Google is just one of five major tech companies who have also been accused of several illegal acts. Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are all considered to be the “big five” of the tech sector, with a combined net worth of 7 trillion dollars, roughly a ⅓ of the US economy. A lawsuit on Google could potentially see further action on the other 4.
It may be years, however, until a final verdict for Google is reached as legal battles as these can be lengthy. But it may very well be the most important case of the modern 21st century world, changing not only the technology market, but a breakup of Google could liberate the international market from Google’s reign.