With Google being one of the 4 major companies facing antitrust investigations, it looks like its parent company, Alphabet, has been preparing itself by training employees not to use competitive words in their documents.
In a document called “Five Rules of Thumb for Written Communications,” which was modified almost a year ago, it shows details that Google and Alphabet are training their employees to ensure certain words are off limits considering “words matter. Especially in antitrust law.” In late July, Google has faced Congress along with the other three leading tech companies, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple, for which its CEO Sundar Pichai, had to be questioned during the controversial hearing.
Google and Alphabet employees are required to refrain from “exaggerations, sarcasm, and terms loaded with unintentional legal meaning” that can be used against the company in court, one mistake Mark Zuckerberg was quite lenient on in 2012, when emails between him and then-CFO, David Ebersman, were revealed during the July antirust hearing. For Google and Alphabet, everyone must assume generated documents of any form can be viewed by regulators.
In the antitrust hearing, CEO Pichai was highly questioned about Google’s “enormous market power” that allegedly allows the company to suppress competition and control how information is circulated in the web. And with Google’s dominance in web search, the antitrust subcommittee have argued that the 21-year-old company takes advantage of monitoring their competitor’s web traffic. One crucial example present in the hearing was how Google responded to Yelp when it demanded Google to stop acquiring their restaurant reviews for which Google reportedly responded by threatening to “delist Yelp entirely.”
In the published document, Google has named Ask, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, and MapQuest amongst others as their competitors in which employees must not “exaggerate the barriers to their success, or be too confident that they’ll require specific resources or technologies to compete” against Alphabet or Google. Some words were considered taboo and alternatives like “challenges” instead of “barriers to entry” and “user preference for Google search” instead of “market share” were imposed.