The US Department of Justice will file an antitrust lawsuit against Google today. The lawsuit claims that Google holds an illegal monopoly over search and online advertising by using tactics that keep out competition.
What are those tactics? Things like paying Apple billions of dollars to maintain their exclusivity as the default search option on their phones, something few other companies could do. Without having seen their suit yet, I’m going to assume they aren’t big on Android having Google Search as an unremovable item either. There are plenty of other details we have yet to discover about this move from the DOJ, so we’ll update in a bit.
It looks like 11 States’ Attorneys General have joined the DOJ: Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas. There are bound to be related suits stemming from this as well, and could take years and years to come to any sort of resolution.
Is this all a part of a political shitshow two weeks before our Presidential election? Probably in part. Just know that there are folks on both sides of the aisle that aren’t fans of big tech and the monopolistic grip they have over so many things.
Google’s initial response is the following:
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. We will have a full statement this morning.
— Google Public Policy (@googlepubpolicy) October 20, 2020
- UPDATE GOOGLE RESPONSE: In response, Google called this a “deeply flawed lawsuit” and laid out several arguments over why this lawsuit only wants to worsen the experience for users who already have choices. Read their response here.
Again, we’ll try to update this as best we can.
- UPDATE LAWYER GUY THOUGHTS: Here’s a Twitter thread from Google’s former public policy guy that’s worth a read, keeping in mind who he used to work for.
— Adam Kovacevich (@adamkovac) October 20, 2020
- UPDATE COMPETITOR CEO GUY THOUGHTS: Here’s what DuckDuckGo’s CEO had to say in a Twitter thread, again, keeping in mind that he is a competitor to Google.
We haven't seen the final complaint yet, but as we understand it right now, the US Department of Justice today is saying in no uncertain terms that Google used, and continues to use, anti-competitive tactics to maintain its search monopoly. (Thread👇) https://t.co/vwiBkwkkgL
— Gabriel Weinberg (@yegg) October 20, 2020