New Antitrust lawsuit suggests that Google has a monopoly on internet and mobile search

Google_Now_Launcher_Large_IconAccording to a new antitrust lawsuit that was filed yesterday, Google is said to be violating antitrust laws by maintaining an illegal monopoly  — not only on Internet search but mobile search as well. This has supposedly affected the search market adversely while inflating the cost of devices of competing companies.

The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for Northern California. It accuses the Mountain View company of using Android as a way to maintain the monopoly through secret agreements with device makers. These agreements require companies to load Google’s suite of apps onto their devices. Known as Mobile Application Distribution Agreements or MADAs, the agreements have been made with mostly all Android vendors.  These agreements essentially help partners facing lawsuits of their own in funding, technical support and other assistance.

The complaint seeks class action status and claims that these secret agreement restraints on trade are designed to allow Google to maintain its control of Internet and mobile search. This is done by requiring companies to set Google search as the default. As the lawsuit puts it:

“As Google well knows, consumers do not know how to switch, nor will they go to the trouble of switching, the default search engine on their devices, so this practice is a highly effective means of ensuring that consumers will use Google search to conduct general Internet queries rather than one of its competitors’ search products.”

Essentially, the lawsuit suggests that if companies — bound by these MADAs — were able to use other search engines, Google’s search competitiors would be able to refine their search processes making them more effective, in turn, making Google work harder at improving its own search process. Plaintiffs also claim that if rival search engines were able to compete for default status, device prices could be subsidized by OEMs, thus lowering the cost to the end consumer. Steve Berman, a partner in consumer right law firm Hagen Berman had this to say in a statement.

According to Google, however, search and Android are, in fact, not mutually exclusive:

“Anyone can use Android without Google and anyone can use Google without Android. Since Android’s introduction, greater competition in smartphones has given consumers more choices at lower prices.”

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the court system. We’ll keep you updated as it does. Stay tuned!

source: c|net

 

» See more articles by Jack Holt


  • Zatch

    I don’t see this holding up at all. Are companies actually required to use Google as the default search or do they use Google because it’s the only one worth a damn? There’s a million other search engines out there, yet most of them suck.

    • Guest123

      fyi

      Google generally pays to have their search engine set as the default for many products, e.g. Firefox.

      There really aren’t that many search engines out there. What you think of as a search engine is most likely nothing more than a front-end to either google or bing data.

      • Zatch

        “Is most likely”… You have nothing to base that on. If you think there aren’t that many search engines out there, you must be new to the Internet. Go try other search engines and see if they give you identical results as Google or Bing.

  • http://robert.aitchison.org raitchison

    “The complaint seeks class action status”

    Of course it does.

    “It’s clear that Google has not achieved this monopoly through offering a better search engine”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  • jcauseyfd

    I think Google should file a response that says “Amazon” and be done with it.