A high-ranking Google executive once lauded the company’s search advertising business, describing it as a remarkable business model, albeit likening it to industries such as cigarettes or drugs. During a communication training session in July 2017, Google’s Vice President for Finance, Michael Roszak, made these comments. According to Roszak, search advertising stands as one of the world’s most exceptional business models, capable of rivaling even illicit enterprises like the tobacco and narcotics trades.
Roszak’s statement has gained notoriety as it was included in a document released online by the Justice Department. This document has played a significant role in the Google antitrust case, where the government aims to demonstrate that Google’s anticompetitive practices have allowed it to maintain its dominant position in the search industry.
However, Google has contested the use of this document in the antitrust case, arguing that it does not represent the company’s official stance. According to a Google spokesperson, the document was created for a public speaking class, where the assignment was to make a hyperbolic and attention-grabbing statement.
The Google antitrust case revolves around allegations that the tech giant stifled competition by striking deals with companies like Apple and Verizon to ensure its search engine’s prominence on users’ devices. Google maintains that it leads the search engine market because of its superior quality, emphasizing that users have the option to switch to other search engines with ease.
This antitrust case represents a significant legal battle for Google, reminiscent of the Justice Department’s pursuit of Microsoft’s dominance in the Windows operating system approximately 25 years ago. The case was originally filed during the Trump Administration in 2020, with the trial commencing on September 12 at the US District Court in Washington, D.C.