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Google under the gavel

Updated: Dec 10, 2020

By Dhruv Anish and Larry Ye Dec. 9, 2020

Nicole Kim Art


Tech behemoth Google became the target of a five-billion-dollar antitrust lawsuit by the federal government on Oct. 25, with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) claiming that it is monopolizing the search engine industry through the use of exclusionary practices. The case results from investigations into Google made by the government over the past two years, as stated by Fast Company, an American magazine that focuses on technology and business.


The DOJ argues that Google has heavily advertised its services to the point of eliminating competition in the search engine market.

The lawsuit details how Google pays companies like Apple billions of dollars annually to retain their services as the primary search engine and default web browser on electronic devices, as per the New York Times. The DOJ argues that Google has heavily advertised its services to the point of eliminating competition in the search engine market. The department wants to prevent Google from monopolizing the industry because it would harm consumers, advertisers and companies by eliminating competition entirely, letting them control the current internet economy by being the only option available. The terms of the lawsuit do not specifically entail a specific remedy but offer possible solutions such as barring Google from exclusivity deals and fining the company or forcing a distribution of its assets to competitors, according to Fortune.


However, Google maintains that consumers can always switch to other search engines such as Microsoft Bing or Yahoo Search. The reason most people stick with Google, the company claimed in testimony to Congress, is solely based on the fact that users prefer its search engine over others. Google also asserts that deals with Apple and other companies are perfectly legal because they do not exclude competitors from a similar compact. The company states that it is unreasonable to claim that it holds a monopoly in the search market based solely on its share of the “general” search market, which exceeds 88 percent, as compiled by Statista. It cites Amazon as an example, which accounts for about half of online shopping searches, as stated by the New York Times.


“The fact that the government is filing a lawsuit against Google gives the case some credibility, and I do agree that the company is very dominant in the market. However, the government’s case against Google is too weak to convince me that the company is monopolizing the search market,” Sophomore Ian Arsintescu said.


Despite the publicity that the lawsuit has garnered, the chances of the government succeeding are slim to none.

Despite the publicity that the lawsuit has garnered, the chances of the government succeeding are slim to none. One reason is that the DOJ is focusing on the wrong targets. According to Fast Company, the government cites Title II of the Sherman Antitrust Act, which states that businesses are not allowed to restrict trade through monopolization. However, companies entered into agreements to make Google’s search engine the default on their devices willingly. Other corporations could also have potentially outbid Google to partake in such a deal, leaving the government’s case unconvincing.


“The lawsuit will probably not change much since Google has a monopoly on the search engine business, and therefore won’t have too much to lose except for the money from the lawsuit, which they will probably win anyway. They can keep doing the same thing, and people will still use Google because it is pretty much the best search engine out there.” Junior Jonah Chang said.


After the lawsuit was filed, Google’s stock actually increased by two percent...

While Google’s business tactics have been a topic of much controversy as more light is being shed on the case, the litigation will likely have little long-term impact on Google’s business. After the lawsuit was filed, Google’s stock actually increased by two percent according to Consumer News and Business Channel (CNBC), demonstrating that stockholders are unfazed by the DOJ’s accusations against the corporation.


Google’s search engine supremacy has had a lasting impact on people’s lives, even sparking phrases such as “Google it!” in everyday conversation, and its intuitive interface has made it familiar to the public. As such, it is unlikely that the proceedings against Google will truly affect users.

 

About the Contributors

Dhruv Anish

Staff Writer


Dhruv Anish is a junior at Leland High School who is a staff writer for the newspaper. He likes to watch movies and listen to music in his spare time. His favorite actor is Robert Deniro and his favorite movie is The Godfather: Part 2.







Larry Ye

Staff Writer


Lawrence Ye is a sophomore at Leland High School and a staff writer for the Leland Charger Account. He likes to swim and travel and loves his pet dog named Meatball.

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