There’s no denying that Google has a monopoly on search engines at 90% market share. And while Chrome can’t be considered a monopoly, it certainly seems unstoppable on its way. This has led to several antitrust accusations in the past, particularly for leveraging their dominance to hurt competitors through “illicit means”.
Back in March, Senators Josh Hawley and Richard Blumenthal called for antitrust measures to be taken against Google. Specifically, their concern was that Google had achieved dominance in advertising due to its overwhelming search engine dominance. Google currently receives 30% of every dollar spent on online advertising.
You might not take Senator Blumenthal seriously for his botchy history of technology takes, but this undoubtedly serves as yet another milestone in the ever-growing antitrust case against an ever-growing Google.
Way back in 2010, The European Union started investigating Google’s search algorithm, after complaints that Google was pushing down results that featured Google competitors. Additionally, Google AdSense’s TOS prohibited the use of advertising from anyone but Google.
Google was found guilty in 2017 and fined €2.4 billion (about $2.6 billion), a record antitrust fine. Even back then, this only accounted for 2.5% of Google’s 2016 revenue.
In 2018, Google was found guilty of violating EU antitrust laws by unfairly leveraging the Android operating system to push their apps, search and services as a requirement. They were fined €4.3 billion ($4.6 billion). This accounted for about 4.2% of Google’s 2018 revenue.
In 2019, the European Commission hit Google with another €1.49 billion ($1.6 billion) fine for their “abusive practices in online advertising”. This included forcing partners to take a minimum number of ads and place them above their own ads. This accounted for 1.2% of their 2018 revenue.
With this timeline in mind, it’s unsurprising that state attorneys general intend to file a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google “early summer” as important as Microsoft’s in 1998. It will also set the stage for how future cases against other tech companies like Facebook and Amazon could play out, and how the US could catch up with the EU in terms of regulation.