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The US government sued Google on Tuesday, claiming the company is one illegal monopoly. My colleagues called it “the government’s most important legal challenge to a technology company’s market power in a generation”.
This litigation will be loud and confusing and most likely will drag on for years. More confusing lawsuits against Google from US states will probably come too. What matters most are the big questions that take center stage: Is Google breaking the rules to keep track of things?? And if so, does it hurt all of us?
Yes, this is about politics and legal details, but ultimately this case boils down to whether the technology we use could be better and the American economy could be fairer.
And throughout this drama, I have a long question: is the government suing Google for failing to do its job?
Any activity that the Justice Department now sees as evidence that Google maintains an illegal monopoly on search and search advertising has been known for years and could possibly have prompted action by agencies such as the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. These agencies are responsible for monitoring companies for signs of potentially abusive behavior.
Yet Google has faced few substantial government enforcement actions in recent years, under both Democratic and Republican presidents, that have made the company stronger and harder to make. If you let your child act again and again without consequences, you should be amazed that it keeps happening?
In Tuesday’s lawsuit, the Justice Department accused Google of excluding rivals through tactics like paying phone companies and others to ensure that Google’s web search engine holds a prominent position on Android smartphones and iPhones. This behavior, the government complained, stifled competition that could produce better products for all of us.
However, that activity wasn’t a conspiracy invented in underground bunkers at Google headquarters.
We have known for years that Google pays Apple billions of dollars every year to make sure the search engine is the one people come across on their iPhones and in the Safari web browser. It’s no secret that Google has signed contracts with phone companies that put Google apps on smartphones and make the search engine practically inevitable.
The antitrust authorities of the European Union Fined Google for similar tactics in 2018. The EU. Changes to Google’s behavior required Some competitors have stated that they are ineffective.
Read the US government complaintI was mostly wondering why it is happening now. Almost all substantive allegations that Google abused its power could – and were – have been made years ago. The EU. Case that started in 2015, very similar facts dredged up.
Of course, novelty is not required to prove that Google is an illegal monopoly. But why did it take so long when the lawsuit is on familiar ground?
And again the F.T.C. or has the Justice Department stepped in earlier to ask tough questions about this behavior? Would that have slowed Google down and prevented the need for a big bang and risky lawsuit to try to change what the company is doing? (Google said on Tuesday that the Government action is “deeply flawed” and people use their online services because they choose to.)
However, these are complex legal issues. The government cannot simply explain that Google stops doing such things just because it makes the company stronger. But I wonder if more effective scrutiny by every corner of the government over the past decade would have done, with less effort, what this antitrust lawsuit is trying to do – keeping Google from tipping the game to its advantage.
In the recent conclusions of a Congressional inquiry into the power of big tech companies, lawmakers who usually disagree on everything agreed on one thing: America’s antitrust watchdogs have fallen at work. (To be fair, Congress should take some of the burden here. It writes the laws that dictate what the FC and Justice Department do and sets their budgets.)
Members of the House said the F.T.C. and others, too often, left untouched Big Tech’s unchallenged pattern of getting stronger by acquiring competitors and that the agencies didn’t crack down on them when those companies broke the law and their word. I can not say more.
For a small example, look at what happened in 2013. It has become increasingly difficult for users to tell the difference between regular web search results and paid web links in the Google search engine. This could hurt both those who try to use the site and companies who had no choice but to spend more money on Google to get noticed.
The F.T.C. urged Google and others, to make it clearer when people see web search results instead of paid links.
What has happened since that warning in 2013? Not very much. If anything, it’s even harder to say Google Ads from everything else.
This is a small example, and this activity was not highlighted in the Justice Department’s lawsuit against Google. But it shows that if their behavior is not scrutinized, large corporations will continue to test the limits of their power.
For more of my colleagues: Steve Lohr explains What you need to know about the Google lawsuit. And Brian X. Chen writes about how Google has changed over the years kept us in the endless loop of the company.
Before we go …
When you get a new iPhone, don’t buy it because of 5G: Brian X. Chen, consumer technology columnist for the New York Times, said the new iPhone 12 is a “solid upgrade” over previous Apple models. But the phones are expensive, and people shouldn’t buy any who will be amazed at 5G, the latest wireless internet technology that is a big marketing pitch for the new iPhones.
“5G is just a mess“Wrote Brian.” At this point, buying an expensive handset shouldn’t be the number one reason to buy an expensive handset in a pandemic-triggered recession. “
The job of the election officials is now to fight the internet junk: Colorado election officials are resisting this incorrect information about the vote My colleagues Nick Corasaniti and Davey Alba reported in an unusual way. They said they would buy internet ads to appear when people search Google for false rumors, and the state set up a disinformation campaign team led by a former US counter-terrorism officer.
You may not be taking MeRich4259’s advice: Fake reviews on Amazon have been a problem for a while, but Bloomberg News reported that about 42 percent of 720 million Amazon product reviews In a recent analysis, they were suspicious – and the proportion has increased as people shopped more online in the pandemic.
No big deal. Just an adorable little owl dressed up as a witch for Halloween in this TikTok video.