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Espada y Escudo

The Student News Site of Vel Phillips Memorial

U.S. vs Google Monopoly Case

U.S. vs Google Monopoly Case

Since the 2000’s, Google has been eating up and buying more and more companies within the ad tech space with companies like DoubleClick, Invite Media, and Ad meld. With these acquisitions the Department of Justice (DOJ) has made an ongoing federal antitrust case against Google. They seek to force Google to sell off significant portions of their ad tech department and stop certain business practices. Their case hinges off the claim that Google made illegal business deals so it’s the first search engine which the government says is to stomp out competition.

If they win it could mean big changes for the internet, like what search browsers come up as a whole and how Google operates as a company. Currently, Google makes big payments to Samsung, Apple, and other web browsers like Mozilla (Firefox) to be the default search engine. The Justice department argues that this gives them an unfair advantage over other start up companies like DuckDuckGo for example, which gives users a more private browsing experience, something that Google does not give tracking all the data for their targeted ads. DuckDuckGo says that these deals make it unduly difficult for people to change their default browser and that there is a real advantage with being the default browser.

This case is similar to the 1998 Microsoft vs the U.S. case, the most recent antitrust case. In Microsoft vs U.S., the Department of Justice argued that Microsoft had an unfair advantage by grouping products together in ways that stifled competition and obliged people to use its products. The judge ruled in favor of the Justice Department saying that Microsoft had and oppressive thumb on the scales of competitive fortune. This Google case is very similar and lawyers are hoping that it turns out the same way. Since it is one of the only cases about a monopolistic tech platform and the government, and the government won, they are using that case as the basis for this trial almost like a blueprint to help them convict Google.

Another point being brought up is that Google in making exclusive contracts with Apple and Android has stifled the market and made other companies like Microsoft with its search engine Bing irrelevant. Similarly in the Microsoft case, Microsoft dominated a much smaller entity Netscape. That comparison makes this case even bigger and more urgent because with bigger clients that Google can dominate it looks more and more like a monopoly and less like a purely better more competitive company just doing better.

So in summary the DOJ is currently in the process of the trial and it will last for 3 months with no jury, purely judge  rule. Since the case being filed in 2020, 35 other states have also filed similar claims against Google along with Guam, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. Top executives from Apple and other big companies will also be looking in on the case as they remain very dominant in the current market and this is a landmark case in monopolies. 

Judge Amit Mheta will reside as the judge in this case put in place in 2014 by Barrack Obama he will have the final say. It is unclear how he will rule if the Justice Department wins. It could be fines and restructuring the company as whole  to a dramatic change in how people access and use the internet.

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