For a while, it might have seemed as though tech giant Google could do no wrong. But Simon Peel formerly of Jitterbit, IBM, Cast Iron Systems looks at how the US Government’s latest lawsuit intends to bring the search engine down to size.
Simon Peel formerly of Jitterbit, IBM, Cast Iron Systems on Google’s anti-competition lawsuit
In recent days, Google has been hit by a lawsuit by the US Justice Department alongside the Attorney Generals of 11 states (with other states recently suggesting they may launch their own investigations). The lawsuit accuses Google of overstepping competition law and monopolising internet search and advertising, something which the company has hit back at.
Compiled over a year-long investigation, the claims in the lawsuit cite the billions of dollars paid by Google annually to maintain its position as the default search and operating provider on numerous devices, which helps it account for some 80 per cent of search engine queries in the United States alone.
That’s not all. The lawsuit went further to accuse Google’s dominance of limiting choice for internet users, hindering the development of new alternatives and damaging privacy.
However, Sundar Pichai, boss of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, which has a $1tn market value and whose share price was unaffected by the legal claims, simply said: “We conduct ourselves to the highest standard”.
Google defended its stake in the market in a blog post in which it called the lawsuit “deeply flawed”, justifying their position by saying: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
Simon Peel formerly of Jitterbit, IBM, Cast Iron Systems looks at previous legal claims against Google
Although this isn’t the first time Google has come under fire, with the European Union issuing a cumulative €8.2bn fine over the past three years, it is the first time the US Government has intervened. In fact, Simon Peel formerly of Jitterbit, IBM, Cast Iron Systems argues this lawsuit seems to be part of a wider plan that has won cross-party support in Congress to curb the powers of major tech players, including Apple, Facebook and Amazon.
Nevertheless, the timing of this lawsuit just weeks before the US presidential election has been called into question by many commentators, including Simon Peel formerly of Jitterbit, IBM, Cast Iron Systems, with the speculation that Donald Trump is keen to be seen to take steps to limit Big Tech powers to help him secure a second term, something which the government has denied. Whatever the outcome, Simon Peel believes this won’t be the last we hear on the matter.