In reading the spate of recent antitrust actions taken against all-powerful search behemoth Google, you do not have to go very far to see damage done to businesses in our own backyard. A locally based (Paoli, Pennsylvania) search engine upstart DuckDuckGo, best known for protecting the privacy of its end-users, is one such business affected by Google’s monopoly.
Toward the end of 2020, Google was hit with three separate antitrust lawsuits brought by U.S. regulators. The first, filed in October by the Department of Justice, focused on Google’s dominance in general internet searches (the utility for which Google is most widely known). The second case, which alleges that Google used anti-competitive practices related to its advertising technology, was brought by a group of Republican state attorneys general. The third, filed in December by nearly 40 states, accuses Google of monopolistic practices in general search and search ad markets. And, as I write this column, news arrived that another antitrust investigation, this time launched by a U.K. competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, had been launched into Google’s “Privacy Sandbox” project, which the regulator said “will potentially have a very significant impact on publishers like newspapers, and the digital advertising market.”
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