The Justice Department on Tuesday filed a landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google, accusing the tech giant of maintaining a monopoly that harms competitors and consumers, The Associated Press reports.
“Google is the gateway to the internet and a search advertising behemoth,” U.S. Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen said on Tuesday. “It has maintained its monopoly power through exclusionary practices that are harmful to competition.”
The lawsuit potentially sets up similar antitrust actions against other tech giants like Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. All three companies are under investigation by the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission.
Lawmakers and consumer groups have long accused Google of using its online search and ad dominance to stifle competition.
Google has faced multi-billion-dollar fines in Europe over antitrust violations but critics have argued that is not enough to dent the company’s bottom line.
Google fights back:
“Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to -- not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives,” a Google spokesperson said in response.
Eleven states joined with the DOJ to sue Google in DC over arguments that the tech giant uses billions in ad revenue to pay phone manufacturers to ensure that Google is the default search engine on the devices. But attorneys general in New York, Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Utah broke from the other state.
The attorneys general in those states said their investigations into the company were not complete but would roll their case into the DOJ suit if they decided to move forward.
“It’s a bipartisan statement,” New York AG office spokesman Fabien Levy told the AP. “There’s things that still need to be fleshed out, basically.”
House report raised similar complaints:
A report from a House Judiciary subcommittee found earlier this year that Google effectively has a monopoly on web searches that it amassed by buying up about 260 companies over two decades.
“It is critical that the Justice Department’s lawsuit focuses on Google’s monopolization of search and search advertising, while also targeting the anticompetitive business practices Google is using to leverage this monopoly into other areas, such as maps, browsers, video, and voice assistants,” Rep. David Cicilline, who led the House investigation, said in a statement.