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The Fight For The Future Of The Internet

Posted September 12, 2023

Ray Blanco

By Ray Blanco

The Fight For The Future Of The Internet

The biggest antitrust case in over two decades is officially underway, which will likely determine the future of the internet as we know it.

Google is squaring off against the Department of Justice in a trial scheduled to go through mid-November, where a decision will be reached that will seriously impact both its parent-company Alphabet, their competitors, as well as anyone who uses the internet.

Justice Department lawyer Kenneth Dintzer said in his opening statement, “This case is about the future of the internet and whether Google will ever face meaningful competition”.

“Search engine” and “Google” are used interchangeably these days. With the verb “Google” being commonly used to mean “look it up”.

This shows in Google’s dominant 90% market share across all search engines.

Competitors like Microsoft claim that the relatively few searches that are not made through Google do not create enough data to meaningfully improve their product.

The comfortable lead that Google has over the field also allegedly discourages innovation, as Google has no reason to improve their product.

Advertisers are also among the parties harmed by Google’s supposed monopoly, as Alphabet has been able to hike up the cost of ad space thanks to the huge volume of Google’s traffic and there being no real alternatives available.

Intent will also be at the center of the DOJ’s case against Google. Are they a victim of their own success, or have they deliberately attempted to form and leverage an illegal monopoly?

Google has paid billions to Apple and Samsung to make their search engine the pre-installed default across all of their devices. In the case of their agreement with Android-based device manufacturers, they are forbidden from having their devices come with any other engine.

The defense for these practices are that Google made fair bids and that users can easily switch from their default search options.

Dangerous Precedent

The last time there was an antitrust case of this magnitude was when the DOJ successfully sued Microsoft back in 1998, where 23 of the 26 arguments brought against the company were accepted by the judge.

Twenty five years later, United States vs Microsoft Corp will be a central point of focus in the Justice Department’s case against Google, as the cases against the two Titans of Tech share many similarities.

First among the arguments against Microsoft was that Internet Explorer was unlawfully “tied” to Windows operating systems.

Many of the same arguments were used in this prequel installment to this new trial…

It was difficult for Microsoft to argue that they didn’t use their dominant position to discourage competition when Intel VP Steven McGeady testified that a high-level Microsoft executive voiced the intention to “cut off Netscape’s air supply” by offering a free clone of Netscape Navigator.

The judgment was eventually reached in November of 1999 that Microsoft constituted a monopoly and they would be forced to split into two distinct divisions.

On appeal, the decision was partially overturned and a settlement was eventually reached in 2001. Microsoft agreed to make its source code available to third parties, basically making it so they could not create additional roadblocks for competitors within their OS.

This was widely considered to be a big win for Microsoft as they didn’t need to suffer the disruption of a company split. However Google should not hope for the same grace from the courts.

Microsoft’s successful appeal was based in part on the conduct of Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, who violated the Judge’s Code of Conduct by discussing the case with the media while the trial was ongoing.

Google is unlikely to get the same benefit if the DOJ’s ruling goes against them this time around…

The Justice Department has already leaned heavily on the comparison, saying that Google is following Microsoft’s playbook from the 1990’s to build and exploit a tech monopoly.

Google has, of course, argued that the comparison doesn’t apply.

With that, we’d like to hear your thoughts. Do you think Google is a monopoly? Do you use another search engine? What would a ruling against Google mean for internet users? Share your thoughts on this, or anything at

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