December 17, 2020 — As many as 38 state attorneys general filed the latest antitrust suit against Google on Thursday. The suit alleges that the company has operated an illegal monopoly in online search and search advertising markets.
This will be the second antitrust lawsuit filed against Google in two days, totaling three antitrust cases against the search giant, when including one filed in October by the Department of Justice. Some are calling the combined actions the largest technology antitrust case in 20 years, since the landmark lawsuit against Microsoft was filed in May 1998.
Each of the cases being brought against Google has a slightly different angle and is brought by a different group of states and governing bodies. The latest case, like the one from the Justice Department, focuses on Google search, alleging that Google uses three forms of anti-competitive conduct to keep its search and search ad monopolies.
Those include deals with competitors like Apple to keep it as a default search engine, using its dominant search ad marketing tool to thwart competitors in its marketplace, and disadvantaging search results for rivals who operate more specialized search platforms like those for travel or restaurants.The lawsuit from the state attorneys general builds on and is broader than the DOJ case.
“This Complaint alleges additional facts demonstrating a broader pattern of Google’s anticompetitive conduct, harming consumers, advertisers, and the competitive process,” the complaint reads.
The attorneys general behind Thursday’s suit are asking for their complaint to be consolidated with the Justice Department’s suit and litigated together, in what will likely prove to be a years-long process.
Unlike the Justice Department case, and the one that only had the support of Republican attorneys general, Thursday’s lawsuit carries support from a bipartisan group.
Google responded to the latest lawsuit with a blog post by Adam Cohen, Google’s director of economic policy, that said changes to its search would hurt consumers. Cohen argues the action “would harm the quality of your search results. And it would come at the expense of businesses like retailers, restaurants, repair shops, airlines and hotels whose listings in Google help them get discovered, and connect directly with customers.”
Businesses “would have a harder time reaching new customers and competing against big commerce and travel platforms and other aggregators and middlemen, he wrote. “This lawsuit demands changes to the design of Google Search, requiring us to prominently feature online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses,” the post reads.
‘Time is Now’ for Separate Big Tech Regulatory Agency, Public Interest Group Says
‘We need to recognize that absolutely the time is now. It is neither too soon nor too late.’
WASHINGTON, June 21, 2022 – Public Knowledge, non-profit public interest group, further advocated Thursday support for the Digital Platform Commission Act introduced in the Senate in May that would create a new federal agency designed to regulate digital platforms on an ongoing basis.
“We need to recognize that absolutely the time is now. It is neither too soon nor too late,” said Harold Feld, senior vice president at Public Knowledge.
The DPCA, introduced by Senator Michael Bennet, D-CO., and Representative Peter Welch, D-VT., would, if adopted, create a new federal agency designed to “provide comprehensive, sector-specific regulation of digital platforms to protect consumers, promote competition, and defend the public interest.”
The independent body would conduct hearings, research and investigations all while promoting competition and establishing rules with appropriate penalties.
Public Knowledge primarily focuses on competition in the digital marketplace. It champions for open internet and has openly advocated for antitrust legislation that would limit Big Tech action in favor of fair competition in the digital marketspace.
Feld published a book in 2019 titled, “The Case for the Digital Platform Act: Breakups, Starfish Problems and Tech Regulation.” In it, Feld explains the need for a separate government agency to regulate digital platforms.
Digital regulation is new but has rapidly become critical to the economy, continued Feld. As such, it is necessary for the government to create a completely new agency in order to provide the proper oversight.
In the past, Congress empowered independent bodies with effective tools and expert teams when it lacked expertise to oversee complex sectors of the economy but there is no such body for digital platforms, said Feld.
FTC Commissioner Concerned About Antitrust Impact on Already Rising Consumer Prices
Noah Phillips said Tuesday he wants the commission to think about the impact of antitrust rules on rising prices.
WASHINGTON, May 17, 2022 – Rising inflation should be a primary concern for the Federal Trade Commission when considering antitrust regulations on Big Tech, said Commissioner Noah Phillips Tuesday.
When considering laws, “the important thing is what impact it has on the consumer,” said Phillips. “We need to continue to guard like a hawk against conduct and against laws that have the effect of raising prices for consumers.”
Current record highs in the inflation rate, which means money is becoming less valuable as products become more expensive, has meant Washington must become sensitive to further price increases that could come out of such antitrust legislation, the commissioner said.
Phillips did not comment on how such movies would mean higher prices, but that signals, such as theHouse Judiciary Committee’s antitrust report two years ago, that reign in Big Tech companies and bring back enforcement of laws could mean higher prices. He raised concerns that recent policies are prohibiting competition rather than facilitating it.
This follows recent concerns that the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, currently awaiting Senate floor consideration, will inhibit America’s global competitiveness by weakening major American companies, thus impairing the American economy. That legislation would prohibit platform owners from giving preference to their products against third-party products.
This act is one of many currently under consideration at Congress, including Ending Platform Monopolies Act and Platform Competition and Opportunity Act.
Small businesses have worried that by enacting some legislation targeting Big Tech, they would be impacted because they rely on such platforms for success.
Critics and Supporters Trade Views on American Innovation and Choice Online Act
American Innovation and Choice Online Act is intended to protect fair competition among businesses, but panelists differed on its impact.
WASHINGTON, May 10, 2022 – Experts differed on the effect that antitrust legislation targeting big tech companies allegedly engaging in discriminatory behavior would have on small businesses.
Small businesses “want Congress not to do anything that will screw up or weaken the services that they rely on for their business,” said Michael Petricone, senior vice present of the Consumer Technology Association, at a Protocol Live event on Thursday.
Petricone said that antitrust bill would encourage tech companies to relocate to other countries, harming the American economy. He said small businesses would be affected the most.
Instead, Petricone called for a “smarter immigration policy” to allow foreign innovators access to American tech market, as well as the defeat of the antitrust legislation.
But other said that small businesses suffer from predatory behavior by big tech companies. “Companies can’t get their foot in the door when there is already self-preferencing,” said Awesta Sarkash, representative for Small Business Majority, an advocacy organization, adding that 80% of small businesses say they want antitrust laws to protect them.
Self-preferencing on online platforms is detrimental to the success of small businesses who rely on social media advertising for business, she said. The new antitrust proposals would ensure an level playing field and promote fair competition, she said.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would prohibit certain online platforms from unfairly preferencing products, limiting another business’ ability to operate on a platform, or discriminating against competing products and services.
The bill sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn, was introduced to the Senate on May 2 and is awaiting Senate floor consideration.
The debate follows concerns raised by both democrats and republicans about America’s global competitiveness as the bill would weaken major American companies.
If passed, the bill will follow the European Union’s Digital Services Act which similarly sets accountability standards for online platforms, preventing potentially harmful content and behavior.
- Agency Leaders Urge Improvements to Spectrum Management
- Fixed-Wireless Behind Fiber, U.S. Broadband Competition, Oregon Broadband Map
- Researching the Impact of Digital Equity Funding Starts With Community Collaboration
- Experts Say Partnerships Key for Downtown City Connectivity
- FTC Commissioner Says Agency Report on AI for Online Harms Did Not Consult Outside Experts
- 5G Drone Test, Viaset Step Closer to Inmarsat Buy, Charter Awarded Nearly $50 Million in Kentucky
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Broadband Roundup2 months ago
Google Facing App Store Suit, Shareholder Suit Against Twitter Buy, Fiber Optic Technician Training Nationwide
Fiber2 months ago
AT&T Q1 Reflects Fiber Growth, Fixed-Wireless Still Plays Crucial Role for Rural Americans
Broadband Roundup1 month ago
AT&T and DISH Agreement, FCC Adds More States in Robocall Fight, $50M from Emergency Connectivity Fund
Broadband Roundup2 weeks ago
Crypto Regulation Bill, Ziply Fiber Acquires EONI, AT&T Tests 5G via Drone
Open Access3 months ago
‘Worst Broadband City’ Brownsville Approves Open Access Fiber Project with Lit Communities
#broadbandlive2 months ago
Broadband Breakfast for Lunch on June 8, 2022 — Preparing for Federal Broadband Funding with the Rural Utilities Service’s Christopher McLean
Broadband Roundup1 month ago
AT&T’s 911 Tech, Russia Cyberattacks, Musk’s Twitter Would Reinstate Trump
#broadbandlive3 months ago
Broadband Breakfast on April 27, 2022 – New Wires on Old Poles: Will the FCC Change Rules for Attachments?