Google has seemed unstoppable for about 15 years, thanks to the power of its online search engine and digital advertising business. But both look more and more in danger.
This week, the Justice Department said that Google’s online advertising business is a monopoly that is against the law and asked that parts of it be broken up.
A similar case against the tech giant’s dominance in search was filed by the Trump administration a few years ago.
Google said the Justice Department is “doubling down on a flawed argument” and that the latest suit “attempts to pick winners and losers in the highly competitive advertising technology sector.”
If successful, however, both blockbuster cases could upend a business model that’s made Google the most powerful advertising company on the internet. It would be the most consequential antitrust victory against a tech giant since the US government took on Microsoft more than 20 years ago.
But even though the lawsuits go to the heart of how Google makes money, they could take years to resolve them.
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In the meantime, there are two other tough issues that could affect Google’s future in a shorter amount of time: the rise of generative artificial intelligence and what seems to be an accelerating decline in Google’s share of the online ad market.
Just a few days before the DOJ lawsuit, Google said it was going to lay off 12,000 people. This was because its revenue growth had slowed down a lot and it was trying to refocus its efforts on artificial intelligence.