new York New anger for Google: In Washington on Monday, a coalition of Democratic and Republican attorney general announced that they wanted to investigate whether Google violated competition rules with its business conduct. A total of 50 Attorneys General, ie Attorney General of all US states, have participated in the action.
The Attorney General is about the dominance of Google in the advertising market and the handling of user data. "It's an investigation to determine the facts," said Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who leads the coalition, at the Washington Supreme Court press conference. "Currently it's about advertising. But the facts point where they lead, "he said, making it clear that it was an open investigation that could include other fields as well.
"If there is no free market or no competition, it increases prices, even if something is marketed as free and it harms consumers," said Ashley Moody, the Florida Attorney General, a member of the Republicans.
Google is thus another authority on the heels. In recent months, Google has already defended against the US Department of Justice and the Trade Supervisory Authority FTC. In addition, the politicians Google boss Sundar Pichai had invited to a hearing in Washington. He should explain his business. Especially in the current US election campaign, the topic of the dominance of Big Tech is highly topical.
In theory, the authorities have three options for tackling the big tech companies: they can inflict billions of dollars in fines, force them to help or split their competitors.
But even the prosecutors can not force Google directly to one of these penalties, even if they find in their investigations. They have to go to court with their findings. Only if the competent court finds a monopoly position and a misconduct, the action is admitted. Finally, the nature and extent of any penalty is decided.
According to the Director of the Antitrust Institute of the prestigious Fordham University, James Keyte, the odds are not very high. Even if a judge identifies a cartel violation and orders a punishment, it can still be overturned by another court.
Keyte also refers to Germany, where the Higher Regional Court of Dusseldorf has rejected the allegations of the Federal Cartel Office. "If this happens in a rather corporate-skeptical country like Germany, it can only happen in the US," notes the professor.
However, observers are wondering if Google and the other companies in Silicon Valley are facing a similar fate as they once did Microsoft at the turn of the millennium. Admittedly, the antitrust lawyers ultimately lost their teeth at Microsoft. The prescribed spin-off of certain business units has been passed by an Appeals Court and the software giant has only had to open its browser and other software more to the competition. However, the company was busy for years with the defensive and also in public the bogeyman.
More: The coming months will be uncomfortable for US companies like Google or Ford. President Donald Trump does not like the course.
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