It Begins – DOJ Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google Inc…


Posted originally on The Conservative Tree House on October 20, 2020 by sundance

Of all the seismic events surrounding the architecture of the deep state, the mechanisms within the swamp and the universe that surrounds all of the ancillary aspects we have come to categorize under names such as “Obamagate”, “Spygate”, “FISAgate” and the surveillance state writ large, none are as universally important as this one.

In the most significant measure this foundation is the “there” in the phrase: “there are trillions at stake.”  This is the substrate that holds the swamp in place.  It was not coincidental the Big Tech conglomeration was the first and primary focus of Obama’s Chicago network.  The downstream consequences cannot be overstated.

The DOJ has filed the class action lawsuit against Google Inc [pdf here], and while Google, and their subsidiaries (YouTube etc) are the secondary targets don’t think for a second that this does not touch on every single aspect of the ancillary technology monopoly; that includes social media platforms.

In short, this is a big effen deal.

FROM THE DOJ – Today, the Department of Justice — along with eleven state Attorneys General — filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop Google from unlawfully maintaining monopolies through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices in the search and search advertising markets and to remedy the competitive harms. The participating state Attorneys General offices represent Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.

“Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives.  Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people,” said Attorney General William Barr.

“Since my confirmation, I have prioritized the Department’s review of online market-leading platforms to ensure that our technology industries remain competitive.  This 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.”

 “As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the Department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation—this time in vital digital markets,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen.

As one of the wealthiest companies on the planet with a market value of $1 trillion, Google is the monopoly gatekeeper to the internet for billions of users and countless advertisers worldwide. For years, Google has accounted for almost 90 percent of all search queries in the United States and has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in search and search advertising.

As alleged in the Complaint, Google has entered into a series of exclusionary agreements that collectively lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines, and thus the internet, by requiring that Google be set as the preset default general search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide and, in many cases, prohibiting preinstallation of a competitor. In particular, the Complaint alleges that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:

  • Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of any competing search service.
  • Entering into tying and other arrangements that force preinstallation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference.
  • Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default – and de facto exclusive – general search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools.
  • Generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization.

These and other anticompetitive practices harm competition and consumers, reducing the ability of innovative new companies to develop, compete, and discipline Google’s behavior.  (read more)

The Statement from AG Bill Barr is HERE

…”The complaint filed today against Google is based on violations of the U.S. antitrust laws and is separate and distinct from concerns raised about content moderation and political censorship by online platforms. As part of the Department’s broader review of market-leading online platforms, we listened to myriad public concerns about how online platforms fail their users. While many of the concerns we heard were competition-related, others were not – like online child exploitation, public safety, and censorship. Outside the Antitrust Division, the Department has considered these issues separately, including by advocating for Section 230 legislative reforms. Our antitrust investigation of Google, by contrast, is based solely on traditional antitrust principles and is aimed at promoting consumer welfare through robust competition.” (more)

On May 28th, after President Trump signed an executive order targeting on-line censorship, CTH wrote a twitter thread about it.  There had to be a breaking point where the FCC or DOJ stepped-in to address the issues if our constitutional republic is to survive.

[Read Executive Order Here] – In the periphery of this executive action there was a widespread expectation of this antitrust lawsuit against Google Inc and their affiliated companies. The controlling ideology of ‘big tech’ merges with legal action by the DOJ.

There have been visible signals, subtle but visible, the DOJ was about to move on a massive (the biggest in history) antitrust lawsuit against Google and all affiliates.

The issue did not necessarily surface as most would think; via a bias based on conservative -vs- leftist ideology in content manipulation; though those underlying aspects are a part of the larger underpinning we will soon see surface.

Antitrust lawsuits, writ large, are based on “prices”, “costs”, and net “financial” distortions caused by corporations not competing based on open commerce. “Antitrust” in it’s structural form is based on costs and the manipulation of prices.  Essentially, controlled commerce.

In the digital sphere the targeted firms have not opened themselves to liability based on ideology; but rather Google, all subsidiaries and alliances, have opened themselves to antitrust violations through the manipulation and control of financial benefit.

Demonitization of digital platform content providers, in combination with Google’s control of almost all ad revenue in the digital space, is what has opened the door for DOJ intervention based on antitrust laws.

Antitrust intervention is warranted because the content being generated on these on-line, digital platforms, is being arbitrarily valued by the media company GoogleAds and not the free market. Directing pathways and content promotion is another former of devaluation. Devaluing certain content they are ideologically opposed to creates consumer distortions.

Underpinning that revenue control is the ideological nature of the control enforcer, in this example Google. However, for the purpose of antitrust lawsuits, that motive is irrelevant.

The methods, practices and purposeful control of value; through collusion of corporate interest specific to a planned and organized effort to control monetary benefit; is the part of their activity that is quantifiable, discoverable, easily provable, and ultimately unlawful.

The financial distortion of internet commerce is the crack in the Big Tech stranglehold that should afford the DOJ the opportunity to step in.  Google (and all subsidiaries) will lose on the substance of their defense because ultimately their business practice has resulted in, and arguably they have engaged in, price fixing.

It will take time, but from an optimistic position the DOJ take action will eventually force Google into a settlement.  There could be a massive financial settlement in addition to a negotiated Consent Decree. Within the decree terms, we could/should see a break-up.

Any antitrust action is only tangentially related to President Trump’s previous confrontation with Twitter and big tech social media based on ideological lines. However, it is easy to see how the two issues will merge.  The monetary distortions are based on ideology.

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