Things are heating up between Google and the U.S. Justice Department over a pending antitrust investigation regarding the search engine’s empire. It consists of business platforms ranging from email, maps, reviews, search and YouTube to a multitude of other product categories.
Google’s dominance in the marketplace has caught the eye of the Federal Trade Commission along with several political leaders who are raising red flags that the company may be favoring its own product listings in search result rankings and the digital ad market, which in turn is hurting the competitive landscape and leading to a monopoly. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then, that the majority of Google-owned businesses have revolutionized from start-ups to world leaders in revenue in only two decades.
“For the good of consumers and competition on the internet, we welcome any renewed interest by U.S. regulators into Google’s anticompetitive behavior,” stated Stephen Kaufer, TripAdvisor’s chief executive and co-founder.¹
While the tech world is focusing on Google’s market dominance, political giants in Washington are making claims toward political bias, particularly that the conservative voice has been suppressed. However, the tech giant is catching heat from both sides of the political spectrum with Democratic presidential candidates, Elizabeth Warren and Senator Kamala Harris, vocalizing their support to break up the company and other similar tech giants such as Facebook, contending that they have become too powerful.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley showed his support for the DOJ investigation on Twitter stating, “This is very big news, and overdue.”²
This isn’t the first time Google has found itself under the microscope for similar accusations. Europe’s competition authority hit the company with a fine to the tune of $2.7 billion for giving itself the upper hand in comparison shopping ranking results. That was just two years ago.
Google also found itself in hot water with the FTC in 2011 regarding allegations that its use of tracking cookies on Safari users was misrepresented. The case was settled with a fine of $22.5 million.
An initial hearing regarding the new investigation is scheduled for July 16, 2019, where leaders of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have all been summoned to testify.
1. ^ ¹ ² Bartz, D. U.S. Justice Department prepares Google antitrust probe: sources. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-google-doj-probe/us-justice-department-prepares-google-antitrust-probe-sources-idUSKCN1T22SU