In the lawsuit, a technology company is accused of abusing its position to dominate search and search ads.
The United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, accusing the technology company of abusing its position to maintain an illegal monopoly on search and search ads.
“Two decades ago, Google became Silicon Valley’s darling as a start-up offering an innovative method for emerging Internet research. That Google has long since disappeared, ”the lawsuit states.
Today, Google is an “Internet monopoly holder” who has used “pernicious” anti-competitive tactics to maintain and expand its monopolies.
The antitrust case was the biggest legal challenge for a major technology company in decades, and is as US officials increasingly criticize the business practices of major technology companies.
The highly anticipated case, filed in Washington DC, alleges that Google is acting unfairly as the internet’s gatekeeper through a series of trade deals that effectively block competition.
Prosecutors have also challenged the agreement that Google’s search app is preloaded and cannot be uninstalled on mobile phones running the Android operating system. The company pays billions each year to “maintain the default health of its general search engine and, in many cases, specifically prohibit Google counterparts from dealing with Google’s competitors,” the lawsuit said: point as has “competition for search on internet excluded “.
According to the lawsuit, Google’s alleged anti-competitive practices are “particularly harmful because they nullify the ability of rivals to compete effectively” and thwart potential innovation.
In a statement, Google called the lawsuit “very flawed.” “People use Google because they want to, not because they have to or because they can’t find alternatives,” the company said. “This lawsuit would not help consumers. On the contrary, it would artificially promote lower quality search alternatives, increase phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use. “
Google dominates online search in the United States and accounts for about 80% of searches.
The lawsuit marks a surprising turnaround for Silicon Valley, which has largely avoided clashes with Washington, even though European regulators have imposed hefty fines on Google and others.
European regulators have fined Google a total of $ 9 billion for anti-competitive practices. In 2018, Donald Trump attacked the decisions of the EU. “I told you! The European Union has just fined one of our big companies, Google, $ 5 billion,” Trump tweeted. “They really benefited from America, but not for long!”
Since then, the mood has changed, Trump and other conservatives have joined the liberals, including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, to attack the dominance of tech companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook and others.
While Democrats have largely focused on criticizing the magnitude of great technology dominance, Republicans, including Trump, have accused major tech companies of censoring conservative rhetoric.
Trump’s Attorney General William Barr allegedly pressured the Justice Department to take legal action against the company against the wishes of attorneys who wanted to spend more time on the case. Today, millions of Americans depend on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives. Competition in this industry is critical, so today’s challenge to Google, the Internet’s gatekeeper, for antitrust violations is a monumental case for the Department of Justice and the American people, ”said Barr.
The case comes after a House subcommittee report concluded that big technology had “too much power” and censored political discourse, spread fake news and “killed” the engines of the US economy.
The allegations mark the first time since Microsoft’s famous lawsuit in 1998 that the US government accused a company of exercising a monopoly under the Sherman Act, an 1890 law that encourages competition between companies.
In the lawsuit, government attorneys said Google was among those who claimed Microsoft’s practices were anti-competitive “and yet Google is now implementing the same guide to support its own monopolies.”
But the Justice Department said Google’s parent company Alphabet learned one thing from the Microsoft case. Referring to an infamous phrase from the Microsoft case, Google’s chief economist wrote, “We have to be careful what we say, both in public and in private. Avoid “cut off the air supply” and the like “.
Google employees have also “received specific instructions about what language to use (and not to use) in emails,” the lawsuit said. Google employees were urged to use terms such as “crush,” “kill,” “harm”, or “block” to avoid competition and not observe that Google has “market power” over any market.
Google has $ 120 billion in cash and deep political ties to Washington. The case will take years to reach a decision and will likely lead to a cascade of other lawsuits. The U.S. Attorney General is already investigating the company, and the Department of Justice is conducting a separate investigation into Google’s advertising technology.