Can the U.S. Government finally notch a monopoly win?
After two years of preamble, Alphabet will finally have their day in court today, starting a lengthy battle over the conglomerate's alleged monopoly over search.
There's a lot of angles the U.S. government could have used to attack Google over their search dominance, but they're choosing to zero in on the relationship between Alphabet and Apple. Despite the two having two rival smartphone systems, Google pays Apple billions of dollars to be the default search engine on iPhones and the Safari browser. Google pays other device and browser companies similarly, but their relationship with Apple has the biggest anti-competitive effect.
Competitors to Google Search like DuckDuckGo will also have their day in court demonstrating how the search product stifles the market. This trial will be a lengthy process though, so don't expect any immediate hits on Alphabet's stock price.
WHY IT MATTERS
U.S. regulators have been pretty weak about their attempts to break up big tech. This Google lawsuit is definitely the biggest one so far (at least until Amazon potentially goes to trial later this month), but smaller plays like blocking Microsoft's acquisition of Activision have come up short. It's really hard to know if the U.S can shore up enough resources to break this alleged monopoly, but they have to pull something off eventually if the market is going to continue taking the U.S. regulatory apparatus seriously. Right now, the players are merely set, but we're potentially in for one heck of a show.