Justice Department’s Antitrust Case Against Google

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Google is facing antitrust charges for allegedly monopolizing online search and advertising. In the case filed by the Justice Department, it claims that Google has been abusing its influence to force unfair practices that impedes competition and innovation from smaller and startup rivals. Google replies that the lawsuit is “deeply flawed that would do nothing to help consumers.”

The Associated Press: Google allegedly uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers

Screenshot from Associated Press

The Associated Press reports that lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising. The case filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., alleges that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers. That stifles competition and innovation from smaller upstart rivals to Google and harms consumers by reducing the quality of search and limiting privacy protections and alternative search options, the government alleges.

Critics contend that multibillion-dollar fines and mandated changes in Google’s practices imposed by European regulators in recent years weren’t severe enough and Google needs to be broken up to change its conduct. The Justice Department didn’t lay out specific remedies along those lines, although it asked the court to order structural relief “as needed to remedy any anticompetitive harm.”

Ars Technica: The DOJ’s lawsuit is pretty narrow at this time and mainly focuses on just one of Google’s sprawling business ventures

Screenshot from ARS Technica

Meanwhile, Kate Cox of Ars Technica revealed that there are plenty of other Google behaviors to complain about, not just one of Google’s sprawling business which the DOJ focused on.

For example, in a report released earlier this month by a House Judiciary subcommittee found not only that Google was abusing its power in the search market but also that it was abusing its control over the digital advertising market. Google achieved its dominance through a series of acquisitions it lied about, the House alleged, and also through illegally tying other apps, products, and services into the Android platform. The House report also cited the intertwining of Chrome, Google Maps, and Gmail into each other and into other Google services as anticompetitive behavior.

In 2013, the company reached a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission in which it agreed to “change its business practices” across several segments of its sprawling business to avoid being sued for antitrust violations.

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