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Posted: 2020-08-04 14:34:23

Antitrust Politics

From Ben Thompson at Stratechery by Ben Thompson
Originally published 2020 08 04
I think that Google is in trouble. The company received the second greatest amount of specificity in its questions as far as competition topics go — Representative Pramila Jayapal’s questions about ad exchanges was particularly well-done, especially given the constraints of the format — but more importantly, at least far as the politics of this hearing is concerned, was revealed to have no friends. Specifically, the price of the company pulling out of Project Maven and the Pentagon’s JEDI project because of concerns about collaborating with the U.S. military4 is that the GOP deal I detailed above is not on the table: Republicans pushed Pichai on not just censorship and election interference but also its refusal to support the military repeatedly, and it seems clear than if and when an antitrust case is brought against the company, it will have few defenders. That is a particularly big problem for Google because the antitrust case against the company is by far the most straightforward.
I think that Google is in trouble. The company received the second greatest amount of specificity in its questions as far as competition topics go — Representative Pramila Jayapal’s questions about ad exchanges was particularly well-done, especially given the constraints of the format — but more importantly, at least far as the politics of this hearing is concerned, was revealed to have no friends. Specifically, the price of the company pulling out of Project Maven and the Pentagon’s JEDI project because of concerns about collaborating with the U.S. military4 is that the GOP deal I detailed above is not on the table: Republicans pushed Pichai on not just censorship and election interference but also its refusal to support the military repeatedly, and it seems clear than if and when an antitrust case is brought against the company, it will have few defenders. That is a particularly big problem for Google because the antitrust case against the company is by far the most straightforward.
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