Sally Hubbard, director of application strategy at the Open Markets Institute, explained that the “divide strategy for conquest” is due to resource constraints, “with different enforcement managers focusing on different aspects. of the monopolization of Google ”.
What took so long?
While the three lawsuits against Google this year, in addition to the lawsuits and investigations against Facebook, Amazon and Apple – represent a milestone in the regulation and enforcement of antitrust laws in the United States, this is far from the first time that these companies have come under scrutiny.
In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission decided not to take action against Google, despite finding evidence that “Google has taken aggressive steps to gain an advantage over competing search providers.” As Beth Wilkinson, an outside lawyer for the Federal Trade Commission, put it, “The mission of the FTC is to protect competition, not individual competitors.”
While the United States has been slow to regulate big tech companies, other jurisdictions – especially Europe – have taken regulatory action in recent years, including $ 9 billion in fines.
The change came amid growing concerns about Big Tech’s outsized influence on American life, with an October 2020 Pew poll showing that Seven in 10 Americans think social media companies have too much influence in American politics.
So what happens next?
Weiser, the attorney general of Colorado, previously indicated plans to consolidate this lawsuit with the Ministry of Justice, and a first hearing to do so is scheduled for Friday. This lawsuit aims “to unwind any advantages that Google has obtained as a result of its anti-competitive behavior, including the divestiture of assets if necessary”, which could include a breakdown.
While the lawsuits against Google are collectively the biggest, the company isn’t the only tech giant facing the wrath. Last week, two separate lawsuits have been filed against Facebook by the Federal Trade Commission and 47 US states. Investigations into Apple and Amazon are also underway by the DOJ and the FTC respectively. What does the regulation or dissolution of these companies look like? is still a complicated question.