This week, another multinational tech company is about to be hit by a multibillion-euro penalty by the European Union.
Google will soon face a lawsuit for allegedly abusing its dominance of smartphone operating systems through Android software. The European Commission is anticipated to issue a finding that Google illegally used the dominance of its Android operating system to ruin competitors.
Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel defended the company’s position explaining the reason for distributing their product which is to enable them to offer their entire suit for free. This opposed the accusation that doing so is in charging the customers upfront fees.
Gary Reback, a longtime and well-known antitrust lawyer who helped spur the case, voiced out his opinion on how this situation will have little practical consequence on Google or even the tech industry.
He shared his worries that the regulators are doing too little to compel Google and the tech giants in addition amidst all these, the consumers are losing out. Severe antitrust enforcement in the tech sectors in the past had shown to be necessary and beneficial.
Reback often made an argument about how the tech industry is vulnerable to the so-called networks effects where leading companies tend to dominate over time. Once a monopoly is achieved, or something close to it, companies lean towards using it to frustrate potential rivals to extend their dominance.
The Microsoft case in the 1990s compelled the tech giant enough to allow the web to take off and companies like Google, Netflix, and Facebook to succeed. This justifies the importance of antitrust enforcement as for how Reback argued it to be.
Since the Microsoft trial, antitrust laws haven’t changed a bit, but campaign finance law definitely has. Political donations by tech companies increased thus greatly affecting the Citizens United decision. It’s a self-perpetuating system where a company with monopoly profits have plenty of money to throw.