World Antitrust lawsuit: A turning point for Google - and the entire tech industry

22:50  20 october  2020
22:50  20 october  2020 Source:   wiwo.de

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Google now faces its first antitrust lawsuit by the federal government as the Department of Justice announced charges against the tech giant. Eleven Republican state attorneys general have joined the DOJ as plaintiffs. Google 's search and advertising businesses are key areas of interest for antitrust

The lawsuit kicks off a legal fight between Washington and Silicon Valley, one that could have vast implications not only for Google but also for the entire tech industry . Tech Policy. Justice Department sues Google , alleging multiple violations of federal antitrust law .

The US government is targeting Google. This not only affects the search engine giant, it could also shake Silicon Valley. Why this is just the beginning - and why Donald Trump is striking right now.

Ist Google nur der erste Silicon-Valley-Konzern, bei dem das US-Justizministerium jetzt ernst macht? © ddp images Is Google just the first Silicon Valley company that the US Department of Justice is now doing seriously?

The PR crisis experts of the Silicon Valley high-tech icons, above all those from Google, of course, are currently in top form. "It is a deeply flawed lawsuit that will do nothing for customers," complains Google's chief legal counsel Kent Walker in a first reaction to the move by the US Department of Justice. This accuses Google of unfair competition in the web search - and will take legal action.

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Google may face huge antitrust lawsuit from US government and states this year. However, the report also indicated that Google ’s ad business would be a major point brought up in the Justice The antitrust lawsuit between Google and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) might be in its ending

The case may ultimately turn on whether the antitrust enforcers can prove that Google had other goals in mind besides customer satisfaction. The Texas lawsuit also includes a surprising allegation: that Google struck an unlawful deal to get Facebook to ease up on Google and the Government.

But no matter how the tech corporations twist and turn it, however they may complain: This monopoly lawsuit against one of the most influential tech corporations in the world means a turning point. For more than twenty years, the US Department of Justice has watched the increasing concentration of power in the Internet industry largely inactive. The investigations and the subsequent monopoly lawsuit against Microsoft - which was started in the era of Bill Clinton - were almost 25 years ago.

And for the first time ever, a monopoly lawsuit is now directed against a company from Silicon Valley. Although Microsoft is often mentioned in the same breath as Silicon Valley, it is located 1,300 kilometers further north of Google's headquarters, in the town of Redmond near Seattle.

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The Justice Department lawsuit marks the most aggressive U.S. legal challenge to a company’s dominance in the tech sector in more than two decades, with The Justice Department filed a long-expected antitrust lawsuit alleging that Google uses anticompetitive tactics to preserve a monopoly

The lawsuit accused Apple and Google of being reliant on each other, and edging out rivals from the market. The department noted that almost half of It is unlikely that the tech giant would refrain from a legal fight as it has fought similar antitrust lawsuits in Europe. A loss for the Mountain-view based

The monopoly lawsuit is just the beginning. Industry watchers firmly expect it to hit Facebook next. And the attorneys general of the US states also get involved.

A report by the Antitrust Committee in the US House of Representatives recently made it clear how bad the reputation of high-tech companies is despite massive lobbying work. After 16 months of investigation and hearing from the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, he made it clear that the four companies are clearly abusing their monopoly power, controlling and manipulating markets, determining winners and losers, dictating prices, eliminating their competitors through toggle contracts or buying up ahead .

With their behavior they would have undermined not only competition and the economy, but also democracy. Their times as shining role models are over. "Companies that once started up as brash outsiders in order to challenge the existing order have become the kind of monopolies that last existed in the days of the oil barons and railroad tycoons," the authors of the report etch.

DOJ Says Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Has 'Nothing to Do' With President

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The lawsuit focuses on Google 's alleged monopoly over the online search industry . Google holds a more than 87% share of the U.S. search market That's at ,530, it bounced off that [Tuesday], so that's bullish and the whole thing over the next week or two is going to be whether it holds or breaks

That should terrify Google and every other big technology company — because there’s no guarantee that the antitrust Klieg light will turn on one company alone. Ultimately the FTC commissioners unanimously voted not to pursue a lawsuit and possibly a breakup of what was then a smaller Google .

If there is a point of attack for the PR crisis experts, it is the time of the monopoly lawsuit: just two weeks before the US elections. The attack on Google is also a PR stunt by Donald Trump. Now the incumbent US president can take up the cause of having finally done something against the power of the big tech companies. That is not even a lie and it is worth gold to him.

Many of the big takeovers with which the internet corporations cemented their power - like the purchase of the travel search engine ITA by Google or of Instagram and WhatsApp by Facebook - went through the tenure of US President Barack Obama and his Vice-President Joe Biden Stage. Obama was a welcome guest at the Google and Facebook headquarters. His government was advised by experts from Silicon Valley who came and went there.

It would be wrong to blame the competition watchdogs for hesitation on Obama and Biden alone. By far the most important takeover by Google was that of the advertising service provider Doubleclick for $ 3.1 billion in 2007 - the penultimate year of George W. Bush's office. And Trump did nothing to stop the wave of consolidation in the Internet and media industry. Its competition watchdogs gave the green light for AT&T to purchase Time Warner, creating one of the largest communications groups in the world. A little later, Disney was able to buy Fox Entertainment, Rupert Murdoch's entertainment division. Ironically, the green light was also given because the buyers complained that they would otherwise not be able to assert themselves against Silicon Valley.

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Are the days of mega-gamers over now because the company bosses no longer dare to approach them because of the monopoly lawsuit against Google? Will Google now split up and will Facebook have to reverse its acquisitions? Is it then Amazon and Apple's turn?

If anything, it will take years and occupy the next and even the next but one US administration. Google will bring in the best lawyers in the world. And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has already vowed to “step into the ring.”

In addition, it is unclear whether the government will prevail at all. Professor Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, who worked for a long time at Harvard and now teaches Internet politics and regulation at Oxford, points out that the US government's antitrust lawsuits have so far never achieved the desired goal.

At Microsoft, the split in the appeal was overturned. In addition, the whole procedure and its preliminary examinations took many years. It was similar with the split-up of AT & T under US President Ronald Reagan, which is celebrated today as a great success of the US competition watchdog. There the split actually took place. As a result, many small telephone companies, the so-called Baby Bells, were created, which in turn consolidated and ended up again in AT&T. A group that is stronger than ever today.

The battle of strength between tech giants and the US government has only just begun.

More on the topic: Trivago boss Axel Hefer explains why Google is hurting him even more than usual in the middle of the corona crisis: The giant is pushing into his business with power.

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