On October 20, the Trump administration sued Google. The Department of Justice (“DoJ”), along with eleven state Attorney Generals, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in United States. The participating state Attorneys General offices represent Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, South Carolina, and Texas.
The Complaint made sweeping allegations relating to Google’s preservation of its monopoly by abusing its dominance and stifling competition in order to maintain its position in the search engine and advertisement marketplace. The allegations include anti-competitive practices to harm competition and consumers, reduce the ability of innovative new companies to develop and compete. The complaint also dives into issues relating to data protection and dissemination.
The press release by the DoJ summarises the allegations in the Complaint. It is alleged that Google has unlawfully maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:
- Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of any competing search service;
- Entering into tying and other arrangements that force preinstallation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and make them undeletable, regardless of consumer preference;
- Entering into long-term agreements with Apple that require Google to be the default – and de facto exclusive – general search engine on Apple’s popular Safari browser and other Apple search tools; and
- Generally using monopoly profits to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on devices, web browsers, and other search access points, creating a continuous and self-reinforcing cycle of monopolization.
This would be the largest antitrust case against a tech company in over two decades and would potentially set precedent for operation of big tech companies in the marketplace.
Reported by Tanya Garg, Senior Editor & Board Member