Former Google boss Eric Schmidt said social media networks “don't act as a booster for idiots and madmen” when he hit back on the Justice Department's blockbuster antitrust lawsuit.
The 65-year-old Schmidt, who resigned from Google's parent company Alphabet Inc. in 2019, said the "most obvious candidate for regulation is the excesses in the area of social networks".
He told the Wall Street Journal, “The context of social networks that act as amplifiers for idiots and madmen is not what we intended. If the industry doesn't come together really smartly, there will be regulation. & # 39;
The Justice Department announced Tuesday that it is suing Google for abusing its dominance in online search and advertising. Google has already described the lawsuit as "deeply flawed".
Former Google boss Eric Schmidt, pictured last year, said social media networks "act as a booster for idiots and madmen is not what we intended" when he answered the blockbuster antitrust lawsuit Justice Department fought back
Now the former CEO Schmidt has stood up for the company he once ran and added: “I would be careful with these dominance arguments. I just don't agree with them. Google's market share is not 100%. & # 39;
THE LAWYER AT A GLANCE
The Justice Department's lawsuit alleges that Google is violating the Sherman Act by improperly blocking parts of the market.
There are three facets to how the government claims;
1] Dominant search engine space
80 percent of all Internet searches in the US come from Google, which puts both its search engines and the public interest in devices above others
In 2020, it accounted for 94% of all mobile searches in the US
2] Monetize its dominance through advertising
Google monetizes the amount people use with ads that generate roughly $ 40 billion in revenue each year
3] Spend billions to consolidate its dominance through "bargaining" deals.
With the money Google makes from ads, Google pays companies like Apple, LG, and others to prevent competitors from preferring their search engine on devices
One of the deals is with Apple. Google is the default setting for Safari on iPhones and also the default setting for Siri.
The deal amounts to up to a fifth of Apple's global income, which would have been around $ 11 billion last year
He said the lawsuit is "largely driven by Republicans at the end of a term of office of a president whose poll shows he is unlikely to be re-elected".
“Somebody has to say that. Now that I'm not a board member or employee, I'm no longer bound by company rules. I can say what I'm actually thinking, ”said Schmidt.
& # 39; There is a difference between dominance and excellence.
“We worked very hard to avoid illegal activity. It is bad public policy to use antitrust law to regulate, ”he added.
The DoJ claims that Google illegally has the monopoly to maintain its position as the "gatekeeper of the internet" and prevent potential competitors from approaching the market.
The complaint alleges that Google is wrongly dominating the market by generating billions in advertising revenue and then using the money to consolidate its presence on smartphones and devices with "foreclosure" agreements with companies like Apple, Samsung and LG, to make sure it is the only advertised search engine somewhere.
Not only does this make it unfair for consumers who are denied "innovation and choice", but the government says it rules out any potential competitor such as Yahoo or Bing from promoting their product anywhere, and "starves" them the opportunity to compete.
Eleven states have signed the lawsuit – Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas. The attorney general in every state is a Republican.
In the lawsuit, Google is asked to impose "structural reliefs" on the injured parties and to end the antitrust "agreements".
White House adviser Larry Kudlow said Trump also consulted the DoJ on the lawsuit, which is the result of a 16-month investigation and AG Bill Barr's promise to pursue the largely democratic world of big tech.
It comes less than two weeks before the election, but Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen told reporters Tuesday that the timing is not political. Big tech CEOs will be answering questions on unrelated topics before Congress next week.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, is left, Attorney General William Barr is right. The DoJ claims that Google illegally has the monopoly to maintain its position as the "gatekeeper of the internet" and prevent potential competitors from approaching the market
In an announcement Tuesday morning, Attorney General Bill Barr said, “Today, millions of Americans rely on the internet and online platforms for their daily lives.
"Competition in this industry is vital, so today's challenge against Google – the gatekeeper of the Internet – for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case for both the Department of Justice and the American people."
& # 39; Since my confirmation, I've given priority to the department's review of the leading online platforms to ensure our technology industries remain competitive.
Schmidt said the lawsuit was "largely driven by Republicans at the end of a term of office of a president whose poll shows he is unlikely to be re-elected." Trump is pictured
"This lawsuit is at the center of Google's impact on the Internet for the millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses and entrepreneurs owed to an illegal monopoly."
In a lengthy response to the lawsuit, the company stated why it believes it is working fairly.
"Google search has made information available to over a billion people in the world. Our engineers work to provide the best search engine possible, and to constantly improve and optimize it. We believe that this is why a broad cross-section of Americans will appreciate our free products and often loves.
"Today's Justice Department lawsuit is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose, not because they are forced to, or because they can't find alternatives.
& # 39; This lawsuit would not help consumers. On the contrary, it would artificially support lower quality search alternatives, raise phone prices and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use, ”said Kent Walker, SVP of Global Affairs.
Schmidt also spoke of America's relationship with China, adding, "The competition between China and the United States is the one to watch because if we lose it, 50 years of growth will be in jeopardy."