Thursday, February 22, 2024

Google is hit with another antitrust lawsuit, adding to its legal problems

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A bipartisan coalition of states sued Alphabet’s Google Thursday on Thursday, alleging widespread violations of antitrust laws in the online search market, marking the third U.S. lawsuit against the search giant in two months.

The lawsuit, led by Colorado, Iowa and other states, marks the latest escalation in the antitrust battle against Google. It happens a day after 10 republican attorneys general led by texas for follow-up the company for anti-competitive practices, and follows a complaint filed in October by the Department of Justice.

“Combined with other recent lawsuits against Google, never before have so many states and the federal government come together to challenge a company with such power,” Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said. “Google has more consumer data and a wider variety of information than perhaps any entity in history.”

The lawsuit, filed by 38 attorneys general, accuses Google of illegally monopolizing internet search and search advertising through a series of contracts and anti-competitive behavior, hurting consumers and advertisers in the process.

The Department of Justice and 11 Republican Attorneys General for follow-up Google October 20 at the most important monopolization for more than two decades. This case focuses on Google’s agreements with Apple Inc. and other device manufacturers and partners to provide default Google search to users.

Texas ruledCasefocuses on Google’s control over the technology that serves display ads across the web. He alleges that Google entered into an illegal deal with Facebook Inc. to maintain a bottleneck in the lucrative digital advertising market.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told a virtual press conference Thursday that the new case went beyond the Justice Department’s complaint. Unlike the U.S. complaint, states are targeting Google’s conduct in specialty search services, such as Yelp Inc., saying the company is cutting off competition from those competitors and making it harder for users to access their information. Weiser said states would move toconsolidatethe suit with the federal affair.

“The most comparable case is probably that of 20 years ago, the Microsoft Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson told reporters at the press conference. “We are in a new era, a new era.”

The antitrust case against Microsoft, which began in 1998 and focused on agreements to distribute its software and operating systems, helped set the conditions for competition in the emerging tech industry.

Antitrust actions against major tech platforms escalated dramatically in the last few weeks of the year. Last week, the Federal Trade Commission and a group of more than 45 states led by New York filed a lawsuits against Facebook alleging that the social media giant thwarted competition to protect its monopoly. The lawsuits have sought court orders to reverse Facebook’s acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp.

Critics have accused Google of using its dominance of the online search market tostealcontent from other companies for its own results andstarvevital traffic competitors. They also claim to have made acquisitions in online ads and videos that have reduced competition and locked major distribution channels to browsers and mobile operating systems.

Google says its search engine is popular and free, rankings are determined by consumer needs, and past agreements have passed regulatory scrutiny. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the latest case by states.

Google said the US-led search case was “deeply imperfectAnd called Wednesday’s filing “baseless” and “inaccurate.” The search engine says that agreements made by platforms for preferred placement before consumers are common in many markets and do not prevent users from switching to competitors.

Google also claims it faces stiff competition from companies, including Inc. for the most profitable searches, which show the consumer’s intention to buy products and make more money for advertisers.

More to read absolutely technological coverage of Fortune:


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