US Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

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A civil antitrust lawsuit has been filed against American multinational technology company Google by the United States Department of Justice and eleven state attorneys general.

The complaint alleges that Google unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising through anticompetitive and exclusionary practices that harmed competitors and consumers and suppressed competition in advertising.

The tactics allegedly used by Google to maintain its monopoly include establishing long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default—and de facto exclusive—general search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools.

Google is further accused of entering into arrangements that force pre-installation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference.

Another accusation leveled at the tech giant is that it used monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, "creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization." 

"Google has entered into a series of exclusionary agreements that collectively lock up the primary avenues through which users access search engines, and thus the internet, by requiring that Google be set as the preset default general search engine on billions of mobile devices and computers worldwide and, in many cases, prohibiting preinstallation of a competitor," wrote the DoJ in a statement released yesterday.

Google’s alleged anticompetitive practices have harmed competitors by preventing them from gaining vital distribution and scale. The company is further accused of suppressing competition in advertising so it can charge advertisers more than it could in a competitive market without having to increase the quality of the services it provides to them.

"Google’s conduct has harmed consumers by reducing the quality of search (including on dimensions such as privacy, data protection, and use of consumer data), lessening choice in search, and impeding innovation," stated the DoJ. 

“As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the Department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation—this time in vital digital markets,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen.

Rosen said that the Antitrust Division has been looking at Google and its competitive practices for more than a year.

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