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Post: The antitrust suit against Google isn’t the DOJ-Microsoft fight redux



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For longtime tech industry watchers, the US Department of Justice’s antitrust suit against Google feels like déjà vu all over again. Many of the charges in the suit have almost eerie echoes to those levied against Microsoft in 1998.

Both claim the targets used their monopoly power illegally — in Google’s case, to maintain its market dominance in search; in Microsoft’s case, to use Windows to squash competitors. In both cases, the very core of both companies was being attacked.

Despite those similarities, the current lawsuit against Google won’t be nearly as consequential as was the fight against Microsoft. While it certainly means a great deal for Google’s future, it likely won’t change the world and tech business the way the one against Microsoft did.

Here’s why.

Google’s stranglehold on search

Because of where Google and Microsoft stood in the tech world at the time each was sued, and because of the nature of the charges, the effect of current action against Google will be different. Today, it is just one tech giant among many — Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, X (the company once known as Twitter), and many others.

The DOJ contends that Google has illegally used its power to maintain a monopoly in internet search, and to kill off any potential competitors before they can even get a start. Its case against Google is relatively straightforward. It claims Google has a monopoly on the search market — more than a 90% market share — and that it maintains that monopoly by paying smartphone manufacturers and wireless carriers, including Apple, Samsung, Verizon and others, a combined $10 billion a year to make Google their default search engine.

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Lora Helmin

Lora Helmin

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