Will anything really happen to Google in the biggest antitrust trial in two decades?

September 13 – The Department of Justice kicked off its antitrust trial yesterday against the internet search engine giant Google, saying the company deliberately cut out competition from other search engines. 

The trial, including federal lawyers and state attorneys general, will determine if the California-based company broke the law. If the answer is yes, a second trial will be set to determine how to keep this from happening again. 

Some analysts are saying this trial will, in a lot of ways, determine the future of the internet. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM predicted, “Nothing happens with this one. Maybe they get a $20 or $30 million fine, but nothing will happen with this. The government needs Google so that when it’s time to throttle back news, Google’s an active participant. They’re in the same sack, just as Comcast owns NBC, Disney owns ABC, Paramount Global owns CBS. So none of these people are going to act in your best interests.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “I would be surprised if this court case breaks up Google, which could happen. This trial, by the way, is going to last four to five months. This is going to even spill into maybe next year. One of the big revelations yesterday that the government laid out, Google has paid over $10 billion to companies like Apple, the cell phone companies, computer makers, to make sure Google is the default browser on all of that hardware. The government pointed out as consumers, you just kind of take for granted you open up the internet and it defaults to Google. Consumers don’t realize how Google was able to monetize that platform with your searches and promoting products or news stories over other products. So my guess would be there’s going to be probably a massive fine. Maybe there’s some regulation that comes out of the court order that Google can’t continue to do that. But the horse is already out of the barn. I mean, Google is by far the preferred search engine all over the world and it’s hard to change that consumer behavior once it’s out.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM added, “Then combine that with what we’re finding out in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction on the government, because they’re saying that the government has been communicating with social media even to the point of intimidation and threats to only put out information they deem appropriate or to block other information. I don’t know if people understand this. That is the definition of fascism, when the government and corporations cooperate together to control things. Combine that news, and then Google’s already the monopolist. I don’t know whether that helps to maybe have them take a better look at Google because that information has finally gotten out or is there so much collusion already between government and corporations that support their points of view that we won’t expect anything but a slap on the wrist?”

Barkdoll said, “We know that a growing number of Americans and people around the world rely exclusively on things like Facebook or Google for their shopping, all of their information, all of their day to day needs. When there’s evidence that there’s collusion going on with government entities that might promote or thwart things on those platforms, at what point do consumers start to see through it? My concern is, people are already so accustomed to those platforms in their day to day lives, no matter what the court would do, consumer behavior is not going to change.”