When the US Department of Justice’s complaint against Google goes to trial next month, it will be the first case to delve into the business practices of a big tech company since the US took on Microsoft a quarter of a century ago. If Judge Amit Mehta comes down on the side of the US, the remedies he orders could have a direct bearing on Google’s core business, opening the door for rivals to take a bigger slice of the mobile search market.
You wouldn’t know it from the share price. Alphabet, Google’s parent, is up 47 per cent this year, part of a powerful rally that has seen Big Tech lead the entire stock market higher. Ever since the “techlash” that set in around 2017, when politicians and regulators around the world began to look at reining in the power of the biggest tech companies, investors have had a new risk to handicap. The current stock market mood suggests they see very little danger.