Tech giants like Google, Amazon, and Facebook have been great influencers not only in the technology but also in political world. We will have to imagine how the world would turn out if certain companies capture all the facets of the digital world. The latest antitrust lawsuit against Google has raised eyebrows among many.
What do these antitrust laws do?
- These laws ensure that no company could establish a monopoly in an industry.
- No company misuses its power in the market by exploiting their consumers.
- Ensures there are new ventures in the industry, and everybody gets an equal opportunity in growth.
- The government can intervene and stop the intimidation of giants and create opportunities for new ventures.
What is the lawsuit against Google?
Google has been accused of having control over the search engines which is affecting the existence of other search engines like DuckDuckGo etc. The tech giant has been accused of being the default for most of the browsers and software applications.
History repeats itself
Things have come in a full circle; back in 1998 Google had accused Microsoft about the same monopoly that they are today accused for. A lawsuit was filed against Microsoft quoting that the company was leveraging its position by locking its products on the consumers so that they would not know about the existence of other products in the market. Though this case against Microsoft was not strong enough, the filing of this lawsuit had significantly brought down the company’s intimidation of its competitors. Microsoft had said in its defense that their competitors were jealous of its growth and the complaint was baseless. Eventually, Microsoft lost the case paving the way for the growth of Google. Now Google is facing similar charges.
What does Google say on its defense?
The tech giant says that it has never forced its products and services on the customers, rather people choose them because of their quality over others. The company defends itself that they have been strongly competitive within the rules; and that they have researched a lot of data and spent heavily on the industry’s growth like any other industry would do. They claim that making its search engine as default in many browsers and apps as part of their growth strategy and this has not happened overnight. Google strongly believes that they never had intentions to intimidate their competitors and have done nothing against the law.
Google former CEO Eric Schmidt has stated that the government’s antitrust lawsuit is completely misguided and has been filed to divert the nation from other serious issues across the country and is politically influenced.
Google’s chief legal officer Kent Walker explained that the company’s attempt in approaching Apple to make its search engine as default is “just like a cereal brand [paying] a supermarket to stock its products at the end of a row or on a shelf at eye level.”
On knowing both sides of the coin, there are valid details on both sides.
As a consumer of the web, I have only used Google search engine and have never felt the need for another search engine; be it for their speed, accuracy of search results, the volume of results have all been top-notch. It is not that I have not known other search engines, I have used DuckDuckGo too but have always felt comfortable with Google. It is to be acknowledged that the company has invested quite a lot in knowing the customer’s needs and has done colossal research on the customer’s search pattern. Their effort has been paid off in emerging as a market leader. Not just in the tech industry, any industry would want to emerge successful among the competitors.
On the flip side, the government’s worry about Google monopolizing the market is a valid concern. If one company starts ruling all the facets of the digital world, then they could start influencing a large population both in a positive and negative way which is not a healthy trend. When in such a powerful position the chances of misusing the position are quite high. Also, any industry would be on the right path to success only when they have healthy competitors around them, without anyone to compete, and creating a complete monopoly is never a healthy trend.
Maybe the companies in power like Apple should never accept any default search engine and let the customers decide on what they would like to use. Other browsers and applications should understand that they cannot exploit the customers and never force their products on them. Google can find other ideas in their expansion rather than defaulting their services across applications as this would crush the newcomers.
Though it is not just Google’s fault in entirety, there should definitely be strict guidelines within the digital market as they are one of the important influencing platforms of tomorrow’s world. One company cannot rule a complete industry; monopoly is never healthy!