The latest episode of CBS-made “60 Minutes” saw Google being accused of abusing a monopoly position in a number of markets by several high-profile guests, with the Alphabet-owned company refusing to participate in the program but issuing a statement denying that it’s a monopoly. Antitrust lawyer Gary Reback who played a major role in the Department of Justice’s decision to pursue its last antitrust lawsuit against big tech — that against Microsoft in the ’90s — is presently trying to prompt history to repeat itself and convince U.S. regulators into opting for a similar move against the Mountain View, California-based firm.
Mr. Reback compared Google and its alleged monopoly on Internet access to petroleum and John D. Rockefeller’s plan to monopolize oil, having argued that any claims the company hasn’t gotten too big are frivolous, pointing at its closest search rival Bing as having two-percent of the market, compared to Google’s 90-percent. Jonathan Taplin of the University of Southern California estimates Google presently controls some 60-percent of digital advertising revenue, noting how the secretive nature of its proprietary search algorithms is a major problem given how the vast majority of the world relies on them but isn’t aware how they operate or what inherent bias they may have. Yelp co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman who had legal issues with Google in the past said he wouldn’t be able to build his company from scratch today as business review aggregators compete directly with Alphabet’s subsidiary who started burying them and all other rivals in search results years ago.
Veteran reporter Steve Kroft argued that the only regulator on the planet that’s taking the antitrust threat of Google seriously is European competition chief Margrethe Vestager who’s presently trying to press the company on multiple fronts, ranging from its Search and price comparison service to the Android operating system. Any Internet business, any website is at risk of being shut down by Google overnight if its unknown search algorithms are changed so as to rid it of virtually all organic traffic almost instantly and there’s no way to prove Google did so intentionally as a single business owner, Mr. Stoppelman argued. Ms. Vestager also appeared on the CBS show, saying she’s confident she will bring her shopping antitrust case against Google to a successful close. The main Search algorithm is promoting Google’s own content and demoting that of its rivals, the regulator argued, reiterating her accusations laid out in recent years which the firm repeatedly dismissed.