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Too Big Not to Fail? Google’s Antitrust Woes

 |  January 29, 2021

By: Ronan Dunne (Phillip Lee)

As a staunch Trump ally, former Attorney General Bill Barr will be remembered for a lot of things. His role in the redaction, and then subsequent disclosure, of the Mueller report and his interventions in cases involving Trump associates spring to mind. However, perhaps his legacy will be something entirely different, with wider ramifications for citizens across the globe, far beyond the Washington political bubble.

Under Barr’s watch, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) initiated a major lawsuit against Google in October for alleged violations of US competition law. Announcing the action, Barr said this was “a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people.”

The DoJ’s case has been taken in conjunction with 11 state Attorneys General (including the likes of Florida, Georgia and Texas). It is a civil antitrust lawsuit which alleges that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies through anticompetitive practices in the search and search advertising markets.

The significance of the DoJ’s action cannot be underestimated. Google is one of the wealthiest corporations on the planet with a market value of over US$1 trillion. In announcing the action, Barr threw down the gauntlet to Google saying the “lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.” He compared the lawsuit with the historic antitrust actions taken against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998…