Google is the latest company in Silicon Valley to come under fire for abusing its power.
The list of power abuses and user privacy violations in Big Tech continues to grow— or more accurately, continues to come to light. On Tuesday, October 20th, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit in D.C. federal court against Google, accusing the search engine giant of violating Section 2 of the Sherman Act by abusing market power to maintain its monopoly as the world’s leading search engine.
Many of today’s biggest and most corrupt companies bank on their endearing come-up stories to gain public affection. Jeff Bezos is quick to remind folks that Amazon was started out of a garage in Seattle, Google was once a humble idea formed in its founders’ college dorm room, and Facebook...well, even from an objective standpoint, Facebook has pretty much always been reprehensible.
The suit points out the gaping disparity between Google’s ethics when the company began two decades ago, versus today, stating "Two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy startup with an innovative way to search the emerging internet," states the complaint. "That Google is long gone. The Google of today is a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet, and one of the wealthiest companies on the planet, with a market value of $1 trillion and annual revenue exceeding $160 billion. For many years, Google has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising—the cornerstones of its empire."
Google’s unscrupulous tactics serve to ensure that no rival company can possibly gain enough traction to challenge Google’s monopoly. The complaint delves into several specifics, citing that Google pays Apple billions of dollars each year to maintain its role as the default Safari search engine across all Apple devices. The suit also accuses Google of conducting “anti-forking” agreements, which ensure Google’s search engine monopoly extends to Android devices, in addition to Apple, as well as engaging in several other dishonorable practices.
The Justice Department seeks to bring Google’s immoral policies to a screeching halt, and bring about structural relief in the process. Google’s senior vice president, Kent Walker, addressed the suit upon its filing, writing in a blog post, “Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to, or because they can't find alternatives. 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."