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[dupe] DOJ will charge Google with multiple violations of federal antitrust law today (washingtonpost.com)
85 points by nojito on Oct 20, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 32 comments

Yes thanks god for the DOJ, this is long over due and will open an new era of innovation and startup ecosystems. Just like when BELL was split apart.

Facebook should be next.

What did splitting up Bell accomplish? The lab was destroyed and national monopoly became regional monopolies.

Splitting up Bell (and the lab) was their idea:

Feeling that it was about to lose the suit, AT&T proposed an alternative: its breakup. It proposed that it retain control of Western Electric, Yellow Pages, the Bell trademark, Bell Labs, and AT&T Long Distance. It also proposed that it be freed from a 1956 antitrust consent decree, then administered by Judge Vincent P. Biunno in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, that barred it from participating in the general sale of computers.[4] In return, it proposed to give up ownership of the local operating companies. This last concession, it argued, would achieve the Government's goal of creating competition in supplying telephone equipment and supplies to the operative companies. The settlement was finalized on January 8, 1982, with some changes ordered by the decree court: the regional holding companies got the Bell trademark, Yellow Pages, and about half of Bell Labs.


I mean, for starters you gained the right to plug your own hardware into the telephone jack at your house.

One, on the computing side, the threat of breakup is part of what was good about the Bell Labs culture before the actual breakup. Why was Unix free-ish? Because Bell Labs was forbidden from going into computers. After the breakup, they suddenly expected to make money from Unix, and that was a major problem for Plan 9. Okay, so that didn't work out, but if Bell Labs had been trying to make money from Unix from the beginning, it would have been worse.

Two, it's hard to get the exact cause-and-effect, but clearly the breakup coincides with a period of extreme telecommunications flourishing. Maybe it would have happened anyway, but it clearly didn't hurt on the telcom side.

'Facebook should be next.'

That can't be repeated too often either. Hopefully, next Amazon and others....

While I am not totally against spliting up Amazon (it would maybe even drive the combinede shares up, who knows?), it might be uch harder to do so. Amazon, while being dominant in eCommerce, is still a small player in overall retail and has legit competition from Alibaba and the likes. eBay is still a thing as well. As is Shopify. So Amazon could argue to be less of an anti-trust candidat purely because of that. Whether this is true or not is a different matter, so.

Google on the other hand, well I don't know about any legit compeitor in the web search field. They do have a quais duo-poly for ads together with facebook IMHO. Not saying they have to split up, but I'd expec Google to have a much harder time argueing against anti-trust charges.

And strangely enough, I don't think that this is in any way a political stunt or politically motivated. The investigations are going for quite a while now already.

I think the world would be a better place if AWS and Amazon retail were split. AWS is such a cash cow that it lets Amazon win scorched earth wars of attrition with almost anyone it wants, which is not likely to end well for the consumer in the long run.

I don't know that the legal case against Amazon is quite as clear cut though. Facebook, on the other hand...

I started to suspect a AWS / Retail split up, a voluntar one, as far back as 2017. I also assumed that the stock price of 1,000 $ at that time reflected that already. I guess I got that very, very wrong.

It is absolutely true so, that AWS is Amazon's cash cow making all the rest possible. And the rest is driving Amazon's cashflow. Pretty neat set-up, if you ask me.

Just off the top of my head, I can see three parts that Amazon should be broken into: AWS, Amazon (the store) and AmazonBasics.

So when will they go after everyone else in this index? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Store_brands

Seriously what is with that talking point and how the hell did it get people conditioned to accept that novel nonsensical standard as "the way things should be"?

It is like an algorithim was run on random complaints against Amazon after it was told to filter on "item arrived broken" after it kept just spitting out the least helpful 1 star reviews.

Amazon would seem to me like the much easier target with the sketchiness around AmazonBasics

FAANG basically.

"You and all of your competitors are a monopoly!" Am I the only one who notices that the statement is completely nonsensical bullshit?

Facebook is an Apple competitor?

Yes actually, but not in the main things they are known for. Apple pay along with the "Facebook scrip" controversy marketting which got a backlash when really it was just an extension of the existing banking system (because of course it would have to be to be useful for the goal of moving money to and from bank accounts). Both are trying to get into an online finance market. Google Wallet too.

Probably a fringe performer but they see big enough potential to run nation wide TV ads for something with very limited adoption.

The funny thing is that it addresses the one silly/paradoxical anti-competitive use of anti-trust claiming it is monopoly for a cross competitor to introduce new competition into a market because there are multiple involved in it means it is hardly a unique situation given there are at least four tech into finace crossover attempts.

How are Netflix or Apple a monopoly?

I'm very pro antitrust and I don't think Netflix is a monopoly at all. I often wonder how they will survive all the free streaming that I love (Pluto TV, Peacock, Tubi...) that is popping up on my tv every day. We cancelled long ago and don't even miss it. They have the monopoly on making crappy low production value Hallmark Channel or Lifetime quality series and movies that I don't want to watch. I might subscribe for a month when Stranger Things comes out again and then binge it and cancel again.

I like watching actual movies and documentaries and I already have Prime, which has much more of those. Which raises a question about Amazon and antitrust...

Netflix is trying to make vertical monopoly on production and distribution. It should be split and regulated, so that production companies cannot own distribution companies. It's a PITA as a consumer that I need to subscribe to a bunch of different services because all of them have exclusive content that they are using to try to win the monopoly wars. The government should just nip the war in the bud and say that you have to choose to be a producer or a distributor, but not both, and then shows will flow out to all the streaming companies, which will have to compete on service rather than selection.

Apple has monopoly dollar share in app spending.

I think people forget they have a nasty habit of buying companies and absorbing them or dismantling them all together (not unlike Google).


The Bell monopoly was only enabled by goverment to begin with.

Well deserved and might I say, "it's about time".

Break 'em up!

'Well deserved and might I say, "it's about time".

Break 'em up!'

Right! I echo your sentiment precisely! It can't be repeated too often:

'Well deserved and might I say, "it's about time".

Break 'em up!'


Would you please stop posting unsubstantive comments and flamebait to HN? You've been doing it repeatedly and we ban such accounts because that's not what this site is for.

You also broke several other guidelines with this comment, such as the ones against accusations of brigading and going on about downvotes. If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and sticking to the rules when posting here, we'd be grateful.

You're not getting down voted for your opinion - you're getting down voted because "it's about time" is not a useful comment. This isn't reddit... tell us WHY it's about time using a reasoned argument.

If everyone just spouted their gut feeling, the comment section would be infinitely long list of people saying nothing, and HN wouldn't be an interesting place.

I hope that this is just the beginning of a revival of antitrust that extends to many other fields besides SV tech firms, too. However, only SV tech has the combined scorn of both parties. As some as the more entrenched power comes under attack, antitrust will again become a partisan issue.

You will be disappointed. It is abundantly clear that it is about bullying for favorable coverage as opposed to actual facts of the matter. When evaluating people don't listen to their nonsensical mouth-noises look at what their actions say - attacking information sources around election time and going after the ones with no barriers to entry - they don't even need to be in the country to compete! Ignoring the ones with actual legal monopolies granted to them.

This is not a news report. It is a press briefing by anonymous sources:

"The Department of Justice is expected Tuesday to charge Google with violating federal antitrust law, according to two people familiar with the matter"

What is the basis of the charge? TFA doesn't say.

The rest of this very first of the article is:

> finding after a year-long investigation that the tech giant wrongfully wielded its digital dominance to the detriment of corporate rivals and consumers.

The rest of the article has details too.

I agree that it's good to ask questions about anonymously sourced material though, and to hold it in a state of suspicion, and to suspect that it's not the full story.

Since this is a leak of something the DOJ will announce, the point of leaking it could be to spin it in a way that is less favorable to the DOJ.

> the tech giant wrongfully wielded its digital dominance

If google is going to be charged with violating a statute, the article should identify which statutue/s and quote from the charge sheet so that we understand what the court matter is about.

Just describing alleged behaviour as "wrongfully wielded its digital dominance" is not informative news - it is an attempt to influence opinion.

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