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Is Google a monopoly? ’60 Minutes’ revisits long-running question

Amid the hubbub over big tech, it’s Google’s turn under the spotlight, with “60 Minutes” on Sunday examining the long-running claims that the Silicon Valley giant is a monopoly and stifles competition.
The allegations — that Google abuses its dominant positions in search, search ads and more — are nothing new, and the television news show brought on some familiar faces.
They included Gary Reback, the lawyer who persuaded the U.S. government to bring antitrust charges against Microsoft in the 1990s.
“Google is the gatekeeper for the World Wide Web, for the internet as we know it,” Reback told the CBS show’s Steve Kroft. “It is every bit as important today as petroleum was when John D. Rockefeller was monopolizing that.”
Margrethe Vestager, the competition commissioner for the European Union who has fined Google and targeted other U.S. tech giants, also spoke about wanting to stop Google’s “illegal behavior.”

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Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO of online review site Yelp, repeated his longtime complaints about Google — that its search rankings favor its own services — on the show.
“If I were starting out today, I would have no shot of building Yelp,” he said. “That opportunity has been closed off by Google and their approach.”
When reached for comment Monday, a Google spokesman sent the following statement, which is similar to what the company told “60 Minutes”: “We compete in a highly dynamic environment with companies including Amazon, Facebook, and many others. We do not make changes to our algorithm to disadvantage competitors. Our responsibility is to deliver the best results possible to our users, not specific placements for sites within our results.”
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Google is also facing scrutiny over its other practices. Last week, a couple of senators asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into how the company is tracking the location of Android users, an issue Australian regulators are also investigating. In addition, Google is facing a lawsuit in the United Kingdom over claims it bypassed Apple’s privacy settings to collect information about iPhone users.

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