Justice Department Files Landmark Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

October 20, 2020 by Dan McCue
A Google building at their campus in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department on Monday accused Google in an antitrust lawsuit of maintaining an illegal monopoly over online search and search advertising.

The filing of the lawsuit in the D.C. federal court came just two weeks after Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee released a massive report on the nation’s largest tech companies, and analysis that singled Google out for having a monopoly on online search and the ads that pop up whenever a user enters a search query.

“A significant number of entities — spanning major public corporations, small businesses and entrepreneurs — depend on Google for traffic, and no alternate search engine serves as a substitute,” the report said.

In a 64-page complaint, the Justice Department accused Google, a unit of Alphabet, of using its business contracts as a means for blocking out competition.

“Two decades ago, Google became the darling of Silicon Valley as a scrappy start-up with an innovative way to search the emerging internet. That Google is long gone,” the complaint says. “The Google of today is a monopoly gatekeeper for the internet, and one of the wealthiest companies on the planet.”

The government accuses Google of locking out competition in search by obtaining several exclusive business contracts and agreements.

Google’s deals with Apple, mobile carriers and other handset makers to place its search engine as the default option for consumers accounted for most of its dominant market share in search, the complaint says, estimating Google’s market share now stands at around 80%.

“For many years,” the suit says, “Google has used anticompetitive tactics to maintain and extend its monopolies in the markets for general search services, search advertising and general search text advertising — the cornerstones of its empire.”

Google responded to word of the lawsuit by saying it will accomplish “nothing to help consumers.”

“To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use,” it said.

Scores of states and jurisdictions have conducted parallel investigations and are expected to bring separate complaints against the company’s grip on technology for online advertising.

On Tuesday, one of them, Texas, also announced it is suing Google for engaging in anticompetitive and exclusionary practices that eliminate competition for internet searches and search advertising.

“Google’s anticompetitive business strategies have disrupted the competitive process, reduced consumer choice, and stifled innovation,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a written statement.

“The violations set forth in the complaint show that Google no longer resembles the innovative startup it was 20 years ago. Our action today is intended to restore competition and allow rivals and next generation search engines to challenge Google so that the marketplace, not a monopolist, will decide how search services and search ads are offered,” he added.

Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, and South Carolina are also suing Google, saying the company’s “illegal conduct” has allowed it to dominate the search industry by requiring exclusivity from business partners and avoiding competition on the merits while shielding itself from competitors who might threaten its market share.

In The News

Health

Voting

Litigation

British Court Ruling Against Oil Company Could Expand Liability for Foreign Accidents
Energy
British Court Ruling Against Oil Company Could Expand Liability for Foreign Accidents
February 19, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

A ruling by Britain's top court last week that said Royal Dutch Shell oil company could be liable in English courts for pollution by its subsidiary in Nigeria, is likely to expand the company’s potential liability abroad. The court’s decision also creates a likelihood of liability... Read More

Riot Lawsuit Just Part of Trump's Post-Impeachment Problems
Law
Riot Lawsuit Just Part of Trump's Post-Impeachment Problems

NEW YORK (AP) — Acquitted by the Senate of inciting last month's U.S. Capitol insurrection, former President Donald Trump faces more fallout from the unrest, including a lawsuit from a congressman Tuesday. But his biggest legal problems might be the ones that go much further back.... Read More

Voting Machine Company Sues Trump Lawyers and Fox News
Litigation
Voting Machine Company Sues Trump Lawyers and Fox News
February 5, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

Electronic voting systems operator Smartmatic is suing two of former President Donald Trump’s attorneys and Fox News cable network, claiming they defamed the company by accusing it of rigging the 2020 presidential election in favor of Joe Biden. The lawsuit filed in New York state court... Read More

SpaceX Accused of Discrimination Against Foreign Job Applicants
Litigation
SpaceX Accused of Discrimination Against Foreign Job Applicants
February 2, 2021
by Tom Ramstack

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is accusing SpaceX of stonewalling for information after a job applicant filed a complaint saying the rocket company discriminates against foreign citizens. U.S. attorneys said in a court filing last week that they subpoenaed documents about an applicant’s complaint but Space... Read More

Litigants Take More Cooperative Approach in Census Lawsuit
Census
Litigants Take More Cooperative Approach in Census Lawsuit

Attorneys for a coalition of municipalities and advocacy groups that had sued the Trump administration over accuracy concerns about the 2020 census say they're hopeful about reaching an agreement with the new Biden administration as both sides take a more cooperative approach. Attorneys for the coalition... Read More

Judge Rules Against Brindisi on Ballots in NY Congressional Race
Elections
Judge Rules Against Brindisi on Ballots in NY Congressional Race
February 1, 2021
by Dan McCue

One could almost hear incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi sigh as he typed a tweet early last week. "Unfortunately, this is a long process," he said of the legal battle and ongoing ballot count that will ultimately decide the outcome of one of the 2020 election cycle's... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top