How to Break Up Google

World News

According to several media reports, Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor and a likely Republican presidential candidate, wants to break up Google or its parent Alphabet. He is part of a long line of politicians and legislators who want companies like Microsoft and Amazon to be several smaller companies and not one. (Here are the industries laying off the most workers.)

Politico reports, “In previously unreported comments made in 2021, DeSantis said technology companies like Google ‘should be broken up’ by the U.S. government.” There is precedent for this, although it is from decades ago. The federal government forced a breakup of AT&T in 1982. In 2000, there was an unsuccessful attempt to split Microsoft into two pieces.

Alphabet does have several discrete businesses that do not have to be part of the whole. The first is the Google search engine, which has 90% of the U.S. market. Another is YouTube, the largest video content destination in America. About 62% of internet users visit YouTube every day.

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Alphabet also has a hardware division, which includes its smartphone and smartwatch operations. Its Chrome browser is among the most used in America and worldwide. Chrome could be broken out easily. Google does not need it for Alphabet to be successful. Google’s AdSense product is also the largest in the sector. Google’s Android OS has only one competitor: Apple’s iOS.

Gmail is among the most widely used email systems in the world. MapQuest is similarly popular.

How would a breakup look? Obviously, Google would be its own company. The same is true for YouTube. There could be a “products” division that would house Google’s ad sales business, its browser, Android OS, maps, and email.

Breaking up Alphabet would not be a simple job, but it could be done.

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