Senators: File Antitrust against Google

Google has faced a lot of troubles in the past few years, from lawsuits to digitize books all the way to a showdown with the oppresive Chinese regime. Now it may be coming to a possible showdown with our very own government.

Google Doodle

Several U.S. Senators are calling for Google to be investigated under antitrust law, similar to Microsoft in the 1990s and AT&T in the 1980s. 

Senate Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) noted on March 10 that his subcommittee is devoted to making the internet fair to users and consumers. He continued:

In recent years, the dominance over Internet search of the world’s largest search engine, Google, has increased and Google has increasingly sought to acquire e-commerce sites in myriad businesses.

Senator Michael Lee (R-UT) echoed Kohl’s concerns:

Google’s position as the preeminent search engine may be abused so as to disadvantage competing vertical search sites to the detriment of advertisers and internet users.

Texas Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has launched a similar investigation into the technology giant’s data aggregation and search techniques as well. Blumenthal has a history of going after Google, after attacking the company for its Google Streetview aggregation.

But wait? Why is Google such a massive power in the search engine market? Simple. Google is so massive and used by so many people because it works.

Any supporter of the free market ought to stand up behind Google and see this for the affront that it really is: an attack on the free market. Google is successful because people like its products. People like being taken to the correct product when they search for something, not having to click through 40 pages of incorrect results that have nothing to do with their interests.  Antitrust law is economically questionable at best, but when it goes after companies that are successful because people prefer them, then it has gone too far.

Judge Learned Hand (yes, that was his real name) noted in United States v. Aluminum Corp. of America that: “[t]he successful competitor, having been urged to compete, must not be turned on when he wins.”

Google is that successful competitor, we ought not to turn on this successful company for being…successful. When will our Congress see that when the consumer picks a product, that doesn’t mean that that company is waging an evil monopoly against them, forcing that choice?

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