It depends on whom you talk to and what they have said most recently, whether this announcement has real teeth to it. Ironically, this comes at a time when Google is most threatened by competition in the sector.
First off, let’s be honest. Google did have a monopoly for a long time, but that monopoly seems to be weakening over the last few years. The biggest reason is all the newly established players in the ad space who reign supreme in other categories and want to be successful here, too.
Amazon has made a massive inroad into the ad space, followed closely by other retail media networks. You also have TikTok doing its (byte)dance. Then you have Disney and Netflix piling onto the streaming advertising market and although they don’t have volume yet, they will, and they are following suit with companies like Hulu and others who have made a dent in the video market. Disney and Netflix are almost guaranteed to drive a lot of budgets because no matter what technology is created, content is, and always will remain, king.
Second, ChatGPT is raising alarm bells in the halls of Google. Execs are talking off the record about how much the AI revolution threatens the golden goose of paid search. Google’s entire business is built on the back of paid search, and although there has been no real threat against that foundation since the late '90s, Microsoft investing in ChatGPT is a watershed moment that could expose and expand any weaknesses in the armor of Google’s current strategy. It may not be this year or next year, but without a viable strategy in response to these AI developments, we could look back at 2023 as the beginning of the end of Google’s dominance.
Thirdly, and once again being honest, the folks in the House and in the Senate don’t understand Google, while much of the current GOP leadership is not that vocal about wanting to go after Big Tech, regardless of what their colleagues are saying. They may have made the announcement, but Congress lacks the follow-up and depth of understanding required. They could very quickly and very easily decide that the monopoly is nonexistent, close their books, and go home.
Bipartisan support to go after Big Tech is probably hard to come by,, since many of the folks in Congress realize that not only does this group lobby them, but they represent large sums of tax money and jobs in their respective states. It’s hard to justify going after the folks who pay the bills.
Lastly, what about the cookie? Government has a number of legislative activities intended to make online privacy stronger and more favorable for the consumer. The government will be hard-pressed to make something work while Google is already in the process of doing it for them. Google is further down the path of killing cookies than the U.S. government is. If Congress members do a little homework, they may realize that Google is doing their job for them, and far more efficiently.
If anything, the government could simply impose more regulations on Google and the rest of the primary digital platforms, and that could be a simple one-two punch to advance their concerns about consumer privacy.
No, I don’t really think the government will go after Google. I see this as similar to how they went after Ticketmaster in the '90s. A few moments made for TV and some expansive speeches, and not much will come of it.
What about you? Do you think this movement has merit or teeth?
Cory, there is much missing from your commentary. Google's monopoly is very much alive and doing damage to the vast majority of publishers. I suggest that you read all of the federal and civil lawsuits. I am one of the plaintiffs and can tell you that our suit does have merit. In your words, "Let's be honest" and your views will change once you have all of the information.
While some of the desire to "crack down" on Google and other tech giants is politically motivted there are many who are concerned about "monopolistic" practices as well.
It's not the first time that the Feds have stepped into the media arena and won't be the last. Back in the early 1940s the Feds forced RCA, the parent of the two major radio networks---the "red" and "blue"--- to divest one or the other and the weaker ""blue" was sold off---eventially becoming the ABC radio network and, after some early struggles in TV, a major player in television. Some might say that this was a good result.
Years later, the FCC was again concerned about "monopoly" control of new TV program development by ABC, CBS and NBC---and not without reason, so the Prime Time Access Rule was implemented in the early 1970s which required the stations to carry no more than three hours of prime time network fare per evening, instead of three and a half hours. This opened up what is now a major arena for syndicated programming and shows like "Wheel Of Fortune", Jeopardy", as well as numerous others, plus celebrity-oriented news magzines have thrived in the early evening time slot. No matter what one thinks of these shows, lots of viewers seem to like them---which some may also see as a good thing. The Prime Time Access Rule also forbad the networks from forcing TV show producers to hire their syndication arms to sell lucrative syndicated reruns of those shows---for a 50% sales commission---as the price for getting a network run. While that restriction was later eliminated because of the rise of cable at the time it was a positive move.
Regarding the current situation one can only hope that the Feds will do their homework and listen to all sides rather than charging in like bulls in a china shop. If its done fairly, maybe we will, agian, see a positive outcome.