The Republican Antitrust Suit Against Google Is a Progressive Dream
Google is being sued by 11 states and the federal government, who claim the tech company “is a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet.” Google maintains this monopoly “through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, they allege.
To reach this conclusion, the complaint—filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia—employs a loose conception of monopoly and barely bothers trying to offer a theory of consumer harm. The complaint’s big beef with Google is basically that it’s big, as well as useful, stubbornly popular, and extremely profitable.
Google is “one of the wealthiest companies on the planet, with a market value of $1 trillion and annual revenue exceeding $160 billion,” the government notes in the suit’s second paragraph.
For search users, Google algorithms “deliver more relevant results, particularly on ‘fresh’ queries (queries seeking recent information), location-based queries (queries asking about something in the searcher’s vicinity), and ‘long-tail’ queries (queries used infrequently),” it says. And “few general search text advertisers would find alternative sources [to Google] a suitable substitute.”
The lawsuit against Google does not accuse it of conspiring with its competitors or of acting unilaterally to block new entrants into the market. Nor does it cite common political gripes about Google, such as the idea that it’s working too many different hustles and needs to be “broken up,” or the claim that Google search and YouTube are ideologically biased.
Rather, it accuses Google of unfairly dominating the U.S. markets for general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising, mainly through distribution deals that give Google apps or search preset default status on some browsers and mobile devices.
To win its suit, the Department of Justice (DOJ) “will need to show that Google is dominant in the market, abusing the power associated with that dominance, and harms consumers,” notes the American Action Forum’s Jennifer Huddleston.
Antitrust experts say the government’s case isn’t great. “U.S. v. Google has a long, long way to go,” said Anthony M. Sabino, a professor at St. John’s University, in a statement. “This case won’t be easy for the government,” said Willaim Rinehart, senior research fellow at the Center for Growth and Opportunity at Utah State University.
“They know they have an uphill battle,” said the Mercatus Center’s Brent Skorup. “Most of Google’s services are offered for free to consumers, so authorities will need compelling evidence of anticompetitive agreements or harm to consumers.”
These default deals are the primary mechanism by which the suit claims Google ac
Article from Latest – Reason.com