Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

DOJ Sues Google For Violating Antitrust Laws

29 Oct 2020

On Tuesday the 20th of October 2020 the Justice Department of the United States of America accused Google of violating antitrust laws. I’m not a huge fan of how Google operates, so this is going to get super awkward really fast.

It’s hard to argue that Google is not a monopoly. Despite the fact that there are literally dozens of other search engines out there, some run by pretty big companies, Google is used for over 90% of Internet searches. Over half of those are from mobile devices. So, yea, a monopoly.

The trick is, having a monopoly isn’t illegal. Nike has close to the same share of the market in basketball shoes, but the DOJ isn’t banging down their door.

Here’s the part where I start talking about stuff that I know very little about. Since we’re at this part, I’ll state for the record that I’m not a lawyer and I have no training or education in law of any kind, let alone antitrust law. There’s an above average chance that what I’m about to say is complete BS.

From what I understand, there are two different kinds of monopolies. Well, that oversimplifies things, but I’m going to do it anyway. So, there are two different kinds of monopolies, coercive and non-coercive. In a market where 50% of the requests come from the desktop, not mobile, and anybody can choose any search engine they want on the desktop, I think the DOJ is going to have a hard sell if they want to claim that Google is a coercive monopoly.

I’m sitting here on my couch, with my Linux laptop running the Vivaldi browser doing research on Duck Duck Go and never touching Google as far as I can tell. It’s not that hard to do.

I guess the question then becomes, does people being unwilling to put in extra effort to use alternatives equate to a coercive monopoly? Is this something the government should be getting involved in? I’m not convinced the answer is yes.

Please don’t get me wrong here. There are many, many things about Google that I don’t like. Many. I’m just not sure this is a workable angle.

Day 92 of the #100DaysToOffload Series.

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