40 different states have focused Google with its third antitrust lawsuit in two months
Sally Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, stated that the "strategy of divide and conquer" was due to resource constraints, "with different enforcers focusing on different aspects of Google's monopoly."
What took so long
While the three lawsuits against Google this year – in addition to lawsuits and investigations against Facebook, Amazon, and Apple – mark a major turning point in US antitrust regulation and enforcement, this is far from the first time these companies have come to court come to the test.
In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission decided not to take action against Google despite evidence that "Google took aggressive action to gain an advantage over competing search providers." Beth Wilkinson, outside attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, said, "The FTC's mission is to protect competition, not individual competitors."
While the US has been slow to regulate large tech companies, other jurisdictions – particularly Europe – have put regulatory measures in place in recent years, including fines of $ 9 billion.
The change comes from growing concerns about the oversized influence of big tech on American life. An October 2020 poll by Pew found that seven in ten Americans think social media companies have too much influence on American politics.
So what's next??
Colorado Attorney General Weiser has already announced plans to consolidate this lawsuit with the Justice Department's lawsuit. A first hearing on this is planned for Friday. This lawsuit seeks to "remove any benefits Google has gained from its anticompetitive behavior, including the sale of assets that may have occurred," which could include a separation.
While the lawsuits against Google are the largest overall, the company isn't the only tech giant outraged. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission and 47 states filed two separate lawsuits against Facebook. Investigations on Apple and Amazon are also carried out by the DOJ and the FTC. How to regulate or liquidate these companies is still a complicated question.