American justice launches its offensive against Google

Published on : 21/10/2020 – 10:18

The American justice passes to the attack against the giants of the net: it launched yesterday Tuesday, October 20 an extremely rare legal procedure against Google, prosecuted for abuse of a dominant position. What to shake its hegemony?

What to call into question the small arrangements between friends, passed by these mastodons become so powerful, so rich that they have the means to erect insurmountable partitions for the competitors. If the Google search engine, which is at the heart of the procedure, is popular with users, it is of course because it is efficient, but it is also because it is often the only tool available. Automatically delivered by default in the Android universe which Google owns but also in the Apple IOS universe.

Known facts. What we know less and that the American investigators put forward is the confidential contract concluded between the two firms to maintain at all costs the de facto exclusivity of Google. Its parent company Alphabet is paying dearly for this: $ 11 billion per year to be the default option on all the devices of the firm at the apple, say the investigators. According to the Wall Street journal, it is on this link that the indictment focuses.

This agreement is decisive for the revenues of these two companies?

Eleven billion dollars a year is a big sum for Google, it represents a third of its profits, but the game is worth the candle since half of the traffic generated by its engine comes from Apple devices. If this juicy channel were to dry up, it would trigger the red alert, they say within the group. The goal for Google is of course to eliminate rivals, no matter how small. The Bing engine, for example, which belongs to Microsoft and which now holds 7% of the American market while Google concentrates 88% of searches. For Apple this arrangement is a significant source of income: $ 11 billion is about 15 to 20% of its profits. If Google defends itself by asserting that its service is free for the user, it fails to declare that it is paying dearly to protect its backyard.

Could Google be dismantled?

This option is on the table, if American justice succeeds. This is not necessarily enough to put an end to these unfair practices. The search engine could very well be bought by another giant of the net powerful enough to enter into equivalent markets, notes Eric Léandri, one of the founders of the French engine. Qwant. For this internet entrepreneur (activist for an open and safe internet for users with his new company Altrnativ) the procedure will already bring a little air to the smallest players, allow them to exist, in the shadow of this mastodon. During the procedure, Google’s investments are frozen, which will allow young shoots to develop without fear of a takeover. This is exactly what happened in the last abuse of dominance proceeding launched in the United States. It was in 1998, against Microsoft. And this has benefited Google and its Chrome browser.

American justice goes on the attack on the eve of the presidential election, its approach also has political motivations ?

The fight against Silicon Valley and its multinationals has always been the credo of Donald Trump, annoyed by their criticisms. Democrats are also worried about the supremacy of these old start-ups. Many other procedures, investigations are in progress, against Google and against the other giants of the net. GAFA, Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft weigh more than 7,000 billion dollars, their market value has more than tripled in 5 years. Yesterday at the stock market, their prices did not flinch.

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