Google hit with third antitrust lawsuit, now over search monopoly

Google hit with third antitrust lawsuit, now over search monopoly.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

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A group of 38 U.S states and territories filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Thursday accusing the tech giant of illegally maintaining ‘untrammelled’ power in general search services and search advertising through exclusionary conducts and contracts.

The lawsuit is the third major antitrust case filed against the Silicon Valley titan this year and comes a day after 10 other states accused Google of abusing its dominance in advertising and overcharging publishers.

The group of states led by Colorado’s Democratic Attorney General Phil Weiser and Republican’s Attorney General Doug Peterson accused Google of striking exclusionary contracts to prevent rivals from getting access to key distribution channels.

This part is similar to what the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) said in its lawsuit in October.

“The broad group of States that seek to hold Google accountable for its illegal conduct, as alleged in this Complaint, also support the allegations in the complaint recently filed by a number of sister States and the United States Department of Justice,” the complaint reads.

“The additional claims in this case are brought to combat a broader range of Google’s illegal conduct.” The new suit goes beyond DoJ’s with two additional points.

Illegal conduct

First, in addition to engaging in exclusive contracts, the lawsuit accuses Google of using its Search advertising marketing tool to severely limit the tool’s ‘interoperability’ with a competitor, thereby, disadvantaging the advertisers.

Second, it said that Google throttles consumers from bypassing its general search engine and going directly to their chosen destination, especially when that destination is a threat to Google’s market position. Meaning, it limits the ability of vertical search providers to reach consumers.

According to the lawsuit, Google’s revenue from search engine has grown 300% in the last decade and accounts for 61% of Google’s total revenue.

Responding to the lawsuit, Google’s director of economic policy, Adam Cohen in a blog post said Google Search is designed to provide users with the most relevant results and if you don’t like the results Google is providing them with, other options such as Amazon, Expedia, Tripadvisor are just a click away.

“We know that scrutiny of big companies is important and we’re prepared to answer questions and work through the issues. But this lawsuit seeks to redesign Search in ways that would deprive Americans of helpful information and hurt businesses’ ability to connect directly with customers,” Cohen said.

“We look forward to making that case in court, while remaining focused on delivering a high-quality search experience for our users.”

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 9:35:10 AM |

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