Last Updated on October 21, 2020
The US Department of Justice, along with 11 State Attorney Generals, filed an anti-trust lawsuit against Google in what would be the largest anti-trust case against a tech company in over 20 years.
The Justice Department contends that Google, which is owned by Alphabet, Inc., has unfairly stifled competition in order to maintain what is tantamount to a monopoly in online search and search advertising.
The DoJ alleges that Google is maintaining a “gatekeeper” status to the internet through an monopolistic and unlawful network of exclusionary and interlocking business agreements that box out competitors.
“Today, millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms…Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google…for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the DOJ and for the American people.” — AG Barr pic.twitter.com/CG8UKXDtZo
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) October 20, 2020
The anti-trust lawsuit could be the shot over the bow ahead of other significant government antitrust actions against the internet’s biggest names, including Apple, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook. Both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have ongoing investigations into each of these major tech companies.
Lawmakers as well as many top name consumer advocates have long accused Google of abusing its dominance in the marketplace. Google controls approximately 90 percent of global web searches.
Google is also the default search engine, by contract, for all federal government computers.
A recent report from a subcommittee on the House Judiciary Committee concluded that Google has “monopoly power” in the market for search. The report maintained the company established its monopolistic position through acquisition; acquiring effective technologies that other businesses had developed.
Google has acquired an estimated 260 companies in 20 years.
The argument for reining in the Silicon Valley giants has gathered the support of both legislators on the political left and right, as well as the White House.
The States of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas enjoin in the anti-trust suit leveled by the Justice Department.
Last year, a bipartisan coalition of 50 US states and territories announced they were investigating Google’s business practices, specifically citing the corporation’s “potential monopolistic behavior.”