What occurs to the Google antitrust case if Biden wins?
The Justice Department's antitrust lawsuit against Google, filed Tuesday along with eleven attorneys general, is a massive condemnation of the tech giant's market power in search and search advertising.
If successful, the lawsuit could be among the most critical in US antitrust history, much like the turn of the century government victories over Microsoft, AT&T in the early 1980s, the film studios in the late 1940s, and Standard Oil more than before Century.
However, cases like this take time and can be beyond administration. So what if the White House changes guard in the course of this lawsuit? And what would happen to the government's fall against Google's alleged search and search monopoly?
Despite President Donald Trump's renewed anger at Big Tech over how the platforms are moderating his speech and what powers they are given under Section 230, unlike Elizabeth Warren, his opponent has not made Joe Biden Tech a central tenet of his presidential campaign while her main effort was her main effort breaking up companies like Google.
However, according to a recent Democrat-led report from the House of Representatives that found abuse of monopoly by Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook, there is significant hostility from both left and right towards big tech.
In a statement to Adweek, Biden campaign spokesman Bill Russo said they would not comment on specific lawsuits. But he reaffirmed the Vice President's commitment, if elected, to "promoting an American economy that rewards real competition for monopoly power and hard work for excessive prosperity".
Experts told Adweek there was reason to believe that a Biden administration would likely not intervene in this suit – or other ongoing investigations against high-performing tech companies like Amazon and Facebook.
"I just don't think there's anything in this complaint that doesn't fit in with a Biden government," said Sally Hubbard, director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, a liberal think tank that works to break down internet monopolies. towards Adweek.
Hubbard, the author of the upcoming book Monopolies Suck, believes the Justice Department case is severe in part because it is limited to Google's dominance in search and search advertising.
"It's actually not an innovative or cross-border or risky case at all. It's a really, really strong complaint that largely mirrors the US decision against Microsoft over 20 years ago, which is still good law," she said do not see any changes in the administration leading to a rollback. "
In these cases, "ambition is no good," said James Andrew Lewis, senior vice president and director of the technology policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a foreign policy think tank. "It's a sign of seriousness. A limited-edition suit has a greater chance of success."
The lawsuit can be expanded if other attorneys general commence lawsuits and consolidate theirs with that of the federal government. A separate group of 50 states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, is also investigating Google, but has reportedly been focusing more on the digital ad stack.
Even on its limited scale, it can take years to resolve. The Microsoft case lasted from 1998 to 2001, and the Google suit could also span multiple administrations.
Lewis noted that the Obama administration was on friendly terms with Silicon Valley – and with Google in particular. He is interested to see if this feeds into Biden's own technology policy.
"If you look at the travel logs, I think Google was the company that visited the White House the most," said Lewis. (The Intercept reported this in 2016.)