By Maggie Crowe, Staff Writer
In an action the likes of which has not been seen for decades, The United States Justice Department filed a major lawsuit against Google on Oct. 20, claiming the corporation violates federal antitrust laws. Confusingly enough, the lawsuit was not provoked by any sudden wrongdoings of Google but came rather out of the blue. This lawsuit grossly undermines the measures Google has taken to expand its market fairly and legally, and it in no way serves to benefit the American people.
The United States’ first federal antitrust law, the Sherman Act, was passed in 1890. The Sherman Act, and every piece of antitrust legislation since, is meant to regulate the actions and organization of major corporations and prevent the creation of monopolies. The American economy relies on competition for marketwide growth, so these laws aim to protect that economic liberty. While it is true monopolies are a threat to the national economy, it is important to note that Google has achieved great success as a result of antitrust laws, not in spite of them.
In their recent lawsuit, The United States Justice Department accuses Google of violating the Sherman Act itself, citing the company’s online domination as both a search engine and internet access portal to be a violation of anti-monopoly law. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen said in a public statement, “As the antitrust complaint filed today explains it has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.” In reality, Google has managed to gain such unrivaled influence amongst its competitors through its impressive and law-abiding initiative.
Google is certainly the premiere search engine amongst internet users. The company has intentionally sought to make itself easily accessible to the world. Google is the default search engine in Apple’s safari browser as well as on the Android mobile interface. Google was not selected by these companies without paying its dues. In fact, the company negotiates deals worth millions of dollars to promote their engine to other tech giants’ audiences.
Rival search engines such as Bing and Yahoo! are free to, and often do, pay for their own featured spots on device interfaces. Not only are these search engines offered to internet users as alternative or secondary search engines, any one of them can easily replace Google on a user’s device per that user’s personal preference.
Ultimately, The Justice Department neglects to consider that Google has grown due to willing support by consumers. American internet users are technologically savvy enough to alter their preferences as they wish. For example, if an Apple user would rather use Bing as their default search engine, they can easily switch their primary search engine in Settings with only a few clicks. Internet users are not being forced to use Google; they choose Google.
Google is proof of the success that can be achieved within systems and laws of the American economy. It is due to the competition presented by other search engines that Google has had to work to gain recognition, and it is through the support of consumers that Google has garnered not only support but the ability to thrive as the primary search engine amongst American internet users.
By challenging Google and its rise to the top, The Department of Justice invalidates the choices made by consumers and practically undermines the entire basis for the American economy, which is the pursuit of greatness, encouraged by competition.
Google’s own SVP of Global Affairs, Kent Walker said it best in his online statement about the lawsuit, writing, “American antitrust law is designed to promote innovation and help consumers, not tilt the playing field in favor of particular competitors…In the meantime, [Google] remain[s] absolutely focused on delivering the free services that help Americans every day. Because that’s what matters most.”