At the end of the 20th century, the dot-com bubble finally burst, and companies that had gained household recognition disappeared. Of the few that survived the scramble, Google has emerged as one of the greatest success stories.
The company designed an algorithm for its search platform and leveraged that as an avenue for advertising. It was a successful play and has paid off handily.
But Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and 50 attorneys general filed an antitrust probe over Alphabet Inc., the now-parent company of Google, monopolizing the online advertising market by using private user information, according to The Texas Tribune.
What Google’s creators have accomplished is something many tech and business leaders dream of, but they are apparently a victim of their own success, if this probe is to be believed.
“There is nothing wrong with a business becoming the biggest game in town if it does so through free market competition, but we have seen evidence that Google’s business practices may have undermined consumer choice, stifled innovation, violated users’ privacy, and put Google in control of the flow and dissemination of online information,” Paxton said in a news release.
Many of those things, while perhaps not always in the best interest of consumers, are not illegal.
One telling aspect is, as The Texas Tribune reports, no potential solutions are presented in the suit. In other words, yes, the company might have grown too large, but there’s not much to do about it. Of course, that might be part of the process: to determine what, if any, actions are necessary.
But this appears to be a case of Google and Alphabet being targeted for their business practices being effective. After all, what is Google supposed to do? Sabotage its own business in the name of promoting competition? The company’s leaders have a fiduciary duty to investors to run a profitable and growing business.
Alphabet and Google are private companies with their own platform. What they do on those and what they do with the user information, within legal bounds, is their business — literally.
Paxton might be sending the wrong message to growing companies in Texas.