Today’s decision by the European Commission to fine Google $5 billion for violations of antitrust laws represents a significant step in global recognition of the platform’s dominance in the data, advertising and distribution markets.
The Commission’s decision was based on Google’s bundling of its products such as Search, Chrome, and Play as preferred or pre-installed options on devices, squeezing out competition and choice for consumers.
Google furthers its stronghold in the digital advertising ecosystem with its products preinstalled on the millions of Android phones sold around world. Google owns products on the buy and sell side of almost every digital advertising transaction, cementing its end-to-end dominance fueled by consumer data.
Because of this digital monopoly, publishers are forced to surrender their content and play by Google’s rules on how news and information is displayed, prioritized, and monetized.
There has been a long-overdue realization that the current landscape leads to bad business arrangements, most notably for news publishers, and I call upon the U.S. government to determine if American citizens and industries are getting a fair deal. A solution I’ve advocated for is an antitrust safe harbor that would allow publishers to collectively negotiate for a better deal. This common sense, marketplace solution would level the playing field for an industry that has a tremendous sense of urgency.
We need to begin to address such issues and consider such solutions or we risk publishers losing their ability to reach audiences with high-quality journalism.
David Chavern is former President & CEO of the News/Media Alliance. Chavern has 30 years of experience in executive strategic and operational roles. Prior to the Alliance, he completed a decade-long tenure at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.