United States v. Google?

Nick Carr wonders if, in the spirit of US v. IBM in 1969 and US v. MSFT in 1994, we’ll eventually see an anti-trust case brought against Google.

Google currently holds a dominant 44 percent share of the web search market, more than its next two competitors, Yahoo and Microsoft, combined (if you include the AOL searches Google powers, they have a 50% share). Further, Google’s AdSense advertising program accounts for 62 percent of the market for search-based ads.

It’s not realistic to expect an anti-trust case against Google under the current administration. And I don’t even know if there would be widespread public support for one, since Google continues to position itself as a benelovent (“Don’t be evil”) company. But, as Carr points out, Google’s actions don’t always match its PR:

Google’s corporate pronouncements are carefully, and, by all accounts, sincerely, aimed at countering fears that it is building a competition- and innovation-squelching empire. But its actions often belie its rhetoric. Its founders said they had no interest in launching an internet portal, but then they launched an internet portal. They said they wanted customers to leap off Google’s property as quickly as possible, but then they began cranking out more and more applications and sites aimed at keeping customers on Google’s property as long as possible. The company’s heart may be in the right place, but its economic interests lie elsewhere. And public companies aren’t known for being led by their hearts.

Time will tell…

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