Google is under attack for being a monopoly. This seems to be what happens when a company reaches the top of the heap (or, top of mindshare). An editorial in the Seattle Times declares:
THE news that Google is in trouble in Europe for its data-gathering practices is a reminder of the global effect of this one company. It is an accomplished company, but also one the Justice Department needs to look at, and on an issue more central than data collection.
The issue is monopoly power.
The problem is with the Times. Monopoly power is not illegal. Abuse of monopoly power is illegal.
To make such a case against Google, the Justice Department will have to establish several points. One… is that Internet search is an “essential facility” in the way the telephone was in 1913. That is when American Telephone & Telegraph was regulated.
Another point will be establishing what “relevant market” Google is in. The company will argue it is a mere minnow in the market for all advertising. The government will have to argue that in the market for Internet search advertising — the relevant market — Google is a whale.
A third point, not touched on by the Times, is that the government would have to prove Google’s whale behavior was anti-competitive and illegal. Could Google’s Android smart phone be a potential candidate for anti-competitive behavior and abusive behavior?