Eric Schmidt, a former Google chief executive, is being considered to lead a new technology industry task force in the White House. Schmidt, it may be recalled, acted as some kind of tech adviser to failed Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
Biden has already given berths on his transition team to Jessica Hertz, a former general counsel at Facebook, and Cynthia Hogan, former Apple vice-president for government affairs.
What makes it even more unlikely that anything will happen to rein in Google is the fact that US district judge Amit Mehta has been chosen to hear the case. Mehta was named to the court by Barack Obama under whom Biden served two terms as vice-president.
For years now, there have been reports that an anti-trust suit was on the horizon, but nothing has eventuated. In May 2018, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin acknowledged that the DoJ needed to take a close look at technology companies like Google that may be monopolies.
The current complaint against Google alleges the company has illegally maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:
- Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid pre-installation of any competing search service;
- Entering into tying and other arrangements that force pre-installation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference;
- Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default — and de facto exclusive — general search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools; and
- Generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, Web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolisation.
At the time the suit was filed, Google described the DoJ's action as deeply flawed and claimed it would do nothing to help consumers.
A statement issued by Kent Walker, the search company's senior vice-president of Global Affairs, said: "People use Google because they choose to, not because they're forced to, or because they can't find alternatives.
"This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use."
The current US administration has only another 64 days in office before the Biden team is sworn in. Given that, this effort to rein in the company may end as others have – in failure.