The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has sued Google (with Alphabet as parent company) on antitrust grounds, claiming that the global giant uses its unprecedented position and power in the market to stifle competition.
Attorney-generals from the ranks of the Republican Party in 11 states – Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas – joined the lawsuit that goes into great detail to expose the heart of Google’s extremely lucrative ad-based business.
We obtained a copy of the lawsuit for you here.
The authors of the lawsuit chose accurate-sounding yet damning language to describe Google’s grip over the industry, calling it “the gatekeeper of the internet.” The accusation is that Google uses its Search service to amass billions in revenue from selling ads (useful to third parties who pay for them only if the tech giant also provides massive datasets containing personal information collected from users).
The extent of Google’s dominance in the search segment (outside of China, where it is banned, and Russia, where it’s facing viable home-grown competition) is staggering: the filing deals with some figures and in the US alone, the market share the behemoth has is 80 percent on the desktop and as much as 94 percent on the mobile.
The latter is where Google Search is tightly paired not only with Android phones, but also with devices and services of other giants like Apple, Samsung, AT&T, Verizon, Mozilla and others, who collectively get paid billions to keep Google Search as their default.
The ad revenue Google collects each year in this way reaches $40 billion, the document said.
The vast wealth accrued in this way is then used as a stranglehold against the rest of the market, the lawsuit alleges, efficiently preventing competition from any chance of challenging this monopoly. As a result, users are unable to benefit from any innovation that might otherwise stem from true competition.
The way the authors of the lawsuit, which came after an investigation that took 16 months to complete, want the court to remedy the situation is by “entering ‘structural relief’ against any parties harmed” and end to “antitrust ‘agreements’.
This is interpreted to mean that the DoJ is not ruling out the necessity of eventually breaking Google up.
The giant’s initial response was to reject the accusations. “This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use,” Google warned.