WASHINGTON (AP) – The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that Google abused its online dominance in online search to stifle competition and harm consumers, a person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press.
The lawsuit marks the government’s most important act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. This could be an opening salute ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of big tech companies, including Apple, Amazon and Facebook, to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.
Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google, whose parent company Alphabet Inc. has a market value of just over $ 1 trillion, of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and increase its profits. Critics say the multibillion-dollar fines and mandatory changes to Google’s practices imposed by European regulators in recent years were not tough enough and that structural changes are needed for Google to change its conduct.
The case is set to go to federal court in Washington, DC, and will allege that Google has abused its dominant position in online search to stifle competition and harm consumers, the person familiar with the matter told the AP. . He will also allege that Google is using billions of dollars collected from advertisers for payphone makers to make sure Google is the default search engine on browsers, the person said. The person was unable to publicly discuss the matter until an official announcement scheduled for later Tuesday morning and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Court records indicate that 11 states will join the federal government in the lawsuit.
The Trump administration has long had Google in its sights. A senior economic adviser to President Donald Trump said two years ago that the White House was considering whether Google searches should be subject to government regulation. Trump has often criticized Google, recycling the Conservatives’ baseless claims that the search giant is biased against the Tories and suppresses their views, interferes with the US election, and prefers to work with the Chinese military rather than the Pentagon.
Google controls about 90% of global web searches. The company is bracing for government action and should fiercely oppose any attempt to force it to split its services into separate businesses.
The company, based in Mountain View, Calif., Has long denied the allegations of unfair competition. Google maintains that although its businesses are large, they are useful and beneficial to consumers. He claims his services face intense competition and have sparked innovations that help people run their lives.
Most of Google’s services are offered for free in exchange for personal information that helps them sell their ads. Google insists that it has no special power to compel people to use its free services or prevent them from going elsewhere.
A recent report by a House Judiciary Subcommittee, following a year-long investigation into market dominance of Big Tech, concluded that Google has monopoly power in the search market. He said the company had established its position in several markets through acquisitions, recovering successful technologies developed by other companies – buying around 260 companies in 20 years.
The argument for control of Google gained momentum as the company went far beyond its 1998 roots as a search engine governed by the motto “Don’t Be Evil.” It has since grown into a diverse goliath with online tentacles that collect the personal data of billions of people through services ranging from search, video, and maps to smartphone software. This data is helping fuel the ad machine that turned Google into a monster.
The company has Chrome’s first web browser, the world’s largest Android smartphone operating system, YouTube’s top video site, and most popular digital mapping system. Some critics have chosen YouTube and Android as Google companies that should be considered for divestment.
Just two weeks before Election Day, Trump’s Justice Department is launching a daring lawsuit against Google over a rare bipartisan deal issue. Republicans and Democrats have stepped up their criticism of Big Tech in recent months, although sometimes for different reasons. It’s unclear what the status of the government’s lawsuit against Google would be if a Joe Biden administration took over next year.
The Justice Department has requested support for its lawsuit from states across the country sharing concerns about Google’s conduct. A bipartisan coalition of 50 US states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, announced a year ago that it was investigating Google’s business practices, citing “potential monopoly behavior.”
Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina and Texas will join the trial, according to court records.
Michael Liedtke, AP Technology editor, contributed to this report from San Ramon, California.