A media watchdog group says the federal government needs to take advantage of the bipartisan desire to break up Google to reduce its corporate power and influence.
The Department of Justice has launched an antitrust lawsuit against Google, claiming the hi-tech mega-corporation has been unlawfully maintaining monopolies when it comes to search engines and search advertising through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices. Dan Gainor of MRC's TechWatch says nobody disputes that Google is a monopoly.
"Government starts looking at you being a monopoly somewhere around 50% of a market share, and Google's got 92%," he notes. "And also, by the way, [Google] controls the number-one video site in the world. Yeah, that's ridiculous."
But Google is firing back, saying in a statement that none of its practices have hurt consumers – which is the usual bar in an antitrust lawsuit. Users can search for free and consumers have other choices, Google points out.
A loss for Google in the case, however, might mean the behemoth is split up like the Bell System was in the early 1980s. Gainor offers some suggestions for a breakup.
"I think [at] the bare minimum, what you do is separate YouTube from Google. That's at least a start. That lessens their corporate power," he argues. "Right now, these companies are the most powerful companies in the history of man."
The Associated Press points out that Google owns the leading web browser in Chrome, the world's largest smartphone operating system in Android, the top video site in YouTube, and the most popular digital mapping system. Some critics have singled out YouTube and Android as among Google businesses that should be considered for divestiture.
According to Gainor, there's a political appetite on both sides of the aisle to see Google split up – the left wanting Big Tech to stop making money off their searches, the right to stop censoring them.
"Maybe you make Google do American search as one company and foreign search as other companies," he offers. "Europe might like that as well."
Court records indicate that several states (Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas) will join the DOJ's lawsuit.