An Atlanta online ad company is the latest to call for Google’s breakup, claiming the search giant is a monopoly that uses its dominance in a number of areas that hurt rivals.
The antitrust lawsuit by Inform Inc. says Google’s monopoly status in search, online advertising, mobile operating systems and ad servers stifles competition. The Alphabet unit should be split into five companies, the suit says.
“Google’s pattern of anticompetitive practices has thwarted competition on the merits and excluded Inform and other Google competitors from the relevant markets,” the suit filed in Georgia federal court said. “The result has been to eviscerate competition in multiple markets, harm consumers, degrade consumer choice and consumer privacy, and stifle innovation.”
Breakup pressure on Google is rising, as U.S. senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren calls for big tech to be broken up and a House Judiciary committee investigates antitrust behavior on the part of big tech. Both the U.S. Justice Department and a House of Representatives committee have inquiries concerning parent Alphabet’s activities, and state attorneys general led by Texas are also probing the company to see if it has broken antitrust law.
Google has been fined about $9 billion in recent years by the European Commission for abusing its market dominance to harm smaller players. Among practices the EC investigated is the anticompetitive nature of Google’s bundling of new products into advertising, search and mobility offerings.
- Google, which also operates in healthcare, laptops, drones, Artificial Intelligence, quantum computing and other areas, recently announced a move into banking.
- Inform says Google’s domineering position made it impossible for it to compete. Inform has about 600 employees as of 2017, according to PitchBook, before it was bought by Bright Mountain Media this year.
- The ad company had revenues in excess of $100 million for its online advertising services between 2014 and 2016. Google has more than 100,000 employees and 2018 revenue of $136.8 billion.