GOOGLE, COMPETITION LAW AND MONOPOLY
Author: Tanya Sinha, I year of B.A.,LL.B. from Institute of law, Nirma University
Competition law is a law that deals with maintaining of market competition, it is a field of law that seeks to maintain market competition by regulating anti-competitive conduct by companies, firms and large corporations. In present day scenario law like competition is of utmost importance as it work as watchdog to curb exclusionary practices and works in as safeguard for consumers and for the society in large as in present day scenario it’s important to have a free and fair competition in order to establish a market. Competition law is known as various other names like antitrust law, anti-monopoly law, trade-practices law and etc.
A monopoly is defined as a market structure or a competition in which exists a single or a only one supplier, no competition as there is no other market to compete with, sole-price controller as they are the only seller and there are many buyers they can manipulate or can arbitrary charge any amount, they have an extreme market dominance. Monopoly exist in many business or in many service provider but the monopoly in technology is quite difficult to understand. These tech giants are leading monopolists in the world and it’s difficult to boycott them or use them in an insignificant manner or to reduce their consumption as we are highly dependent on them as they have become an integral parts of our live. One of such tech giant which is accused of major things such as being a deliberate and manipulative is Google. Thus, it is very important for every individual to know about the nuances of competition law and characteristics of monopoly as it is linked with the existence of google and google for us is like a place where we visit almost every day and even n number of times in a day. So, it is very important to know about the Google, its policies and its relation with competition law and monopoly.
As we can see in news and newspapers almost every day that Google is accused of many foul plays or breaking rules and laws, it’s very important to know them but most important is to know why as, in our everyday life we are so consumed by google that we don’t even say search it rather we say google it, shows the impact of google in our life and also google is not something restricted to some section of the society its usage is somewhat ranges from those higher in hierarchy to those lower in hierarchy. It usage even ranges from first world country to third world country, from developed to under-developed, from rich to poverty-stricken.
To discuss in great depth about the behaviours or characteristics of google which led it to be anti-competitive and monopoly is that google makes revenue or earn money not through its users but rather through its bidders that is through auction method as when anyone searches for any thing whichever products or sites or links are at 1st position is the one who paid highest in bid, thus this can also lead to inefficiency as any kind of product can be seen as number one irrespective of its worth as 70% of the searchers are dependent on google. Google practices exclusionary practices which is in opposite to competition law, it is not at all inclusionary in nature that is at every possibility google tries to avoid competition by not letting in new players in the technological affairs. The behaviour of google such as establishing its browser as a default one in android, controlling advertisements all these lead to be as monopoly. The issue for privacy is the paramount one, the google as a complex system of data barrier to enter, by preventing new company to enter. Thus, data is a strategy and should be regulated with same standards of competitive law as other business or companies are regulated. Thus, because of such a barrier to entry many innovative ideas and innovative markets are not able to emerge leading it to be a disadvantage for them as well as for the consumers to select from variety of markets. The various issues dealt by the consumers that is the advertisers or the users are it dictate prices, control rules, unfair sanctions, unfair demands, and use of personal data.
There exist a number of reasons as to why several search engines bring up the issue of Google monopoly, which includes-
1.) Monopolies have the power to set pricing. Google already sets the bar for PPC advertising, but in the future, when one engine controls 90% or more of the market, this power will grow significantly. Marketers will have no alternative but to pay or go home if click fraud increases significantly or Google artificially inflates PPC expenses.
2.) Monopolies have the ability to implement unfair sanctions (far more easily). Right now, if one violates Google's criteria, they risk being removed from the index or relegated to the bottom of the ranks. Although this authority is generally employed fairly (though not always and certainly not universally), a monopolistic environment makes it much easier for Google's online spam team to apply their personal prejudices and vendettas to large and small websites.
3.) Monopolies are more resistant to market forces than other businesses. Nowadays, Google does a fantastic job of staying one or two steps ahead of customer demand and feedback, but the incentives to do so are substantially smaller in a monopoly setting.
4.) It is far more difficult to compete against monopolies. Building a fantastic search engine is difficult, and gaining market share may be even more difficult.
5.) It is true that power corrupts. Power corrupts power, and absolute power corrupts absolute power. Journalists, bloggers, SEOs, and searchers have seen that Google has evolved from a fun-loving company to a for-profit corporation in the last several years. While this is not necessarily a negative thing as a capitalist, it does mean that Google's path to corruption is significantly more risky. Your data, search history, site analytics, and privacy are now respected not just because it's the right thing to do, but because it's good business for Google. As monopoly approaches, such objectives diverge, and the motivation to "do the right thing" fades.
Thus, to conclude we can say that google is being a monopoly and which it acquired not naturally but by strategy, and thus various methods should be employed to curb it like government intervention or by making of new legislation. As monopoly has ill-effects on consumers and thus competition law for every place should bring in legislation to deal with as seen by European Union, India, USA and etc. In the past by curbing the monopoly tendencies of Microsoft, other technology giants emerged, leading to innovation in the market and as well as competition so that every market is efficient and various option to choose from. In India also telecom monopoly was restricted and because of its result in present we can use such varied market.