Is The Justice Dep't Really Thinking About Going After All Of Google's Business On Antitrust?

from the political-extortion dept

We've been somewhat confused by the talk of an antitrust action against Google for its ad deal with Yahoo (which doesn't seem likely to raise prices despite what critics say). However, it's become increasingly clear that the gov't is very likely going to move ahead with this. As we already noted, the Justice Dep't has already hired a well-known outside attorney to lead the charge. It seems unlikely that they would do that if they weren't planning to make a big splash. Plus, news is spreading that the Justice Department is already sharing info on its case with California's Attorney General and potentially other state Attorneys General as well.

Now comes the news that the Justice Department isn't just thinking about stopping the ad deal between Yahoo and Google, but in going after Google in general as a monopolist. This is positively ridiculous, and is clearly politically motivated and funded by companies who simply don't like Google. Yet, nowhere has there been any evidence that Google's size has been used to abuse pricing power or to make things more expensive for consumers. Rather, almost everything it's done has been to make things easier or cheaper for consumers.

Unfortunately, it appears that in this politically motivated world, where Google didn't "play the game," a bunch of politicians and Justice Department officials want to charge Google with the crime of "being too successful." Honestly, that's about all they seem likely to have on the company, because it's hard to see how it's abused its monopoly power in a way that actually harms consumers or prevents competition from entering the market.

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  1. icon
    Mike (profile), 13 Sep 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Google can't have it both ways

    I hope that the government does go after Google. Back in 2000, the kids of Silicon Valley couldn't compete with Microsoft and the "rich kid" fight move from markets and competition to the courts. Microsoft was never a monopolist, just successful. Google is in the same boat.

    So that makes it ok?!?

    Since Google owns so much search traffic, they need to open up just like Microsoft was forced to open up.

    Why?

    Google complained because the integrated client search in Vista was a feature. They wanted to be there, they complained and now you can "swap" your integrated search feature. Yet, they did not complain about Spotlight or similar features popping up in Linux.

    Yes, so Google complains about the competition just as Microsoft does. Both are wrong on that, and we've pointed that out. But that doesn't mean either company deserves to be smacked down for antitrust violations.

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