Case against Google two weeks before voting in America
- Accused Google of misusing market leadership
- Earned money from an exclusive deal with smartphone company
- It also filed such cases against Microsoft in 1998
- After Europe and America, Japan and Australia also hinted at challenging the monopoly of tech companies like Google.
- Google’s answer – We did not force anyone people used to search on their own.
In the US, the Justice Department and 11 states have sued Google, the most used search engine. He has been accused of illegally making exclusive deals with Apple and smartphone makers to eliminate competition and establish his monopoly.
This is the largest lawsuit against a technology firm in over two decades. Earlier in 1998, a similar lawsuit was also filed against Microsoft. Company has been accusing this before. Now reports are also coming that Australia and Japan are also preparing to challenge the monopoly of big tech companies with Europe and America.
In such a situation, it is important to know that what are the allegations against Google in these cases? What can be the effect? Let’s find the answers to these questions …
First, what is the lawsuit and who has done it?
“Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms… Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google…for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the DOJ and for the American people.” — AG Barr pic.twitter.com/CG8UKXDtZo
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) October 20, 2020
- The Justice Department in the US and 11 different states have filed this antitrust lawsuit against Google. The 54-page complaint alleged that Google had exclusive deals to acquire more than 90% market share in the search engine business. This made Google the default search engine for users on these devices.
- Google paid billions of dollars to mobile makers, carriers, and browsers from their advertising revenue to make Google a pre-set search engine on their devices. This earned Google the top position on millions of devices and prevented it from positioning itself for other search engines.
- It is also alleged that Apple and Google resorted to each other and outshone their competitors. About half of Google’s search traffic in the US came from Apple’s iPhones. At the same time, a fifth of Apple’s profits came from Google. Company stopped innovation. Finished choice for users and affected service quality like privacy data.
- Company took advantage of its position and did not miss the opportunity to grow or innovate with other companies or startups. The Justice Department has registered the case after nearly a year of investigation.
What is Google’s response to the US government’s allegations?
People don’t use Google because they have to — they use it because it’s helpful. People have endless options when it comes to accessing information online, and they can switch or download alternative search engines in a matter of seconds.https://t.co/uHUzG1wz4n
— Kent Walker (@Kent_Walker) October 20, 2020
- Google’s Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker says the lawsuit is baseless. People use Google because they have decided to do so. Company has not forced anyone to use its services. The option is present if they need it.
- He says that companies are not being able to compete in the market on the pretext of anti-trust law. The company pays Apple and other smartphone companies to get shelf space to reach as many people as possible. There is nothing wrong with this.
- Walker also said that the design of the American Anti-Trust Law is not designed to strengthen a weak competitor. There are equal opportunities for everyone here. This case is not going to last much in court. Any service that Google gives to users is free. It is wrong to predict the possibility of harm to someone else.
What is the politics behind this lawsuit?
- From the time of filing this case to the states involved, many questions have arisen. This lawsuit has been filed just two weeks before the elections. Normally, any step is afraid of having an impact on elections, due to this, no major steps are taken by the government.
- Importantly, the 11 states that have supported the Justice Department are all Republican Attorney General. The reality is that all 50 states in the US started investigations against Google a year ago.
What can be the outcome of a case
- In such a case, the trial goes on for a long time and it takes two-three years for the verdict to come. A similar lawsuit was filed against Microsoft in 1998, which ended on settlement.
- Company had previously faced similar allegations in Europe. If the company loses, it will have to make some changes in the company’s structure. At the same time, if it wins, it will give strength to big tech companies. This will shock the efforts of governments to overcome them.
- It is certain that the outcome of the trial will take time. There is an election in America on November 3 and the new government will have to fight this case. Democrats have long argued that the provisions of anti-trust law need to be changed in the new digital age.
Can action be taken against Google in India too?
- The Competition Commission of India (CCI) in India aims to end a company’s monopoly in the market. He promotes Healthy Competition. CCI is already investigating similar complaints in the US.
- A similar situation arose on Google vs. Paytm last month, when Google took advantage of its position to remove Paytm’s app from the Play Store. Even then, Paytm made the same allegations that Company discriminated between itself and other apps.
- News agency Reuters reported a few days ago that the Competition Commission of India is about to investigate Google’s grandeur in the smart TV market. The case is related to the supply of Android OS installed in Smart TV, which is pre-installed in most Smart TVs sold in India.
What are the law experts of India saying?
- Cyber law expert and Supreme Court lawyer Virag Gupta says that if there is an action to end Google’s corporate supremacy in the US, it will also have an impact in India. Companies like Google have established their chaotic dominance in India compared to the US.
- According to the Senior Advocate, it is necessary to make new laws and change the old laws in India. India has recently enacted several restrictive rules regarding FDI from China and Pakistan. On the same lines, it is necessary for the tech companies to change the rules of company law, IT law and income tax law.
- Gupta says that there is a large-scale procurement of data from these companies. It is necessary to curb this so that government revenue can be increased. In order to challenge the monopoly of these companies in India, the system of the Competition Commission needs to be reformed.