After months of speculation the US Department of Justice, along with eleven state Attorneys General, have filed a civil lawsuit against Google for “unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets”. This Antitrust lawsuit is the culmination of a long investigation and has been likened to the action taken against Microsoft in 1988.
The timing has been viewed as suspicious with the US election happening in just a few weeks however there does seem to be support for action against big tech from both sides of the aisle, even if the outcomes and motives seem different. Regardless of the outcomes, this is likely to be a pivotal case in the current climate of anti-big tech sentiment.
Google has responded to the lawsuit calling it “a deeply flawed lawsuit that would do nothing to help consumers”. Google argues that their position in search is a result of offering the best service and consumers actively choosing to use Google as their search provider.
Google outlined their views on the range of search options, the easy of changing search provider and a brief privacy of the default search provides across the tech industry. This is going to be a complex and nuanced legal battle.
We should not expect swift movement on this case, there will be the traditional story of appeals following an initial judgement. We will continue to follow the highlights but dig in for a long and boring battle of press releases.