Google is a behemoth not just in the tech world, but also throughout most industries. It is no longer just a search engine; it is a company that provides us the fastest Internet connection, self-driving cars, promotes space travel, pharmaceuticals ,and the list goes on. One of Google’s greatest weapons in fighting off potential threats to its vast empire, though, isn’t a product. It’s an incredibly deep pocket.
Google dominates not only in the U.S. but in Europe, as well, with about 90 percent of the EU market in their hands. Recently, Europe has begun several separate antitrust investigations into not only Google’s search engine but also its Android operating system. The company has been accused of abusing its market dominance, and if found guilty Google could be forced to break up its monopoly and face fines of as much as $4 billion.
In its defense, Google has deployed a vast army of politicians and lobbyists to help defend itself in its fight against Europe’s antitrust case, as reported by The Guardian on Dec. 17. A series of incriminating letters exposes 12 U.S Congressmen who received funding for their campaigns from Google in exchange for leaning on members of the European parliament to vote against any antitrust efforts that would “ultimately undermine the free market”.
Google is using persuasive tactics to drop the case. The company’s own co-founder Larry Page met personally with Jose Manual Barroso (at the time, Barroso was the president overseeing the antitrust case), at Google headquarters in California, even when he was specifically told not to discuss it. Google has also been paying for university and think-tank studies to support its public policy objectives.
These tactics have worked incredibly well for them in the United States, where they were able to have an antitrust case dropped by the Federal Trade Commission in 2013, using their influence in Washington. In 2014 Google spent more than $4 million on lobbying efforts alone in the city of Brussels, outspending almost any other company except for one:, Microsoft.
Microsoft seems intent on seeing Europe follow through with the antitrust case, and is using its own deep pockets to combat Google’s efforts. Microsoft, itself having has already paid overmore than $3 billion in similar European antitrust cases, and seems to want to make sure Google is treated fairly. The company is using its own deep pockets to combat Google’s efforts, and seems intent on seeing Europe follow through with the antitrust case.
So far the Google’s exhaustive efforts have done nothing to stop Europe’s long running antitrust investigation, and the EU has made it clear that they will continue to pursue Google and recently announced holding company, Alphabet.