Google and Apple Threatened With DoJ Antitrust Attack

The U.S. Justice Department’s recent antitrust actions against Google’s search dominance and Apple’s iPhone echo the landmark 1998 case that targeted Microsoft. These actions suggest that Google and Apple’s rise, with their multitude of popular products, might not have been possible without the regulatory intervention that curbed Microsoft’s power a quarter century ago.

In the final arguments of a trial in Washington, D.C., regulators accused Google of transforming its search engine into an illegal monopoly, stifling competition and innovation. The regulators’ focus on Google’s deals with Apple, which effectively locked its search engine into the iPhone and Safari web browser, draws a parallel to Microsoft’s tactics in the personal computer software market. These allegations could have significant implications for the technology industry.

The antitrust lawsuits filed against Apple last month point to complaints that Steve Jobs raised in 1998 against Microsoft’s “dirty tactics while urging regulators to force the PC software maker “to play fair. The concessions from that case paved the way for Apple to extend the reach of its iTunes music store’s reach, which increased the iPod’s popularity before the iPhone.

This year, Microsoft’s market value hit $3 trillion for the first time, surpassing Apple as the world’s most valuable company and taking the lead in artificial intelligence technology.

“It’s not about an agenda about trying to pursue and destroy companies; it’s about trying to restore competition in a market, said Rebecca Haw Allensworth, a Vanderbilt University law professor who focuses on antitrust law issues. What has happened with the Microsoft case is a success story that can also provide a blueprint for Apple and Google when people ask why America is trying to destroy its most successful companies. Microsoft has done great after it had a major antitrust claim against it.”

Antitrust lawsuits filed against IBM in 1969 and AT&T in 1974 helped pave the way for Microsoft and Apple to launch the personal computer revolution, which subsequently spawned the internet boom and the smartphone.

The Justice Department’s antitrust case against Google will conclude this week, and the case against Apple will continue progressing in the New Jersey federal court. Antitrust regulators are examining whether Microsoft is again crossing the line to gain an unfair advantage in AI.

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