The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google for unlawfully maintaining monopolies via anticompetitive practices in the search and search advertising markets. The lawsuit, filed in the District Court of Columbia, alleged that the search engine has reported over 90% of all search queries in the U.S. and used anticompetitive techniques to retain its monopolies in search and online search advertising.
“Google is the monopoly gatekeeper to the internet for billions of users and countless advertisers globally,” the DoJ said.
The lawsuit also claimed that Google has undergone several agreements that closed new opportunities to other search engine companies. Google has set as the preset default general search engine on billions of mobile devices barring its competitors.
According to the DoJ, Google illicitly maintained monopolies in search and search advertising by:
- Entering into exclusivity agreements that forbid preinstallation of any competing search service.
- Other arrangements that force preinstallation of its search applications in prime locations on mobile devices and making 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.
- 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.
Attorney General William Barr, said, “Millions of Americans rely on the Internet and online platforms for their daily lives. Competition in this industry is vitally important, which is why today’s challenge against Google — the gatekeeper of the Internet — for violating antitrust laws is a monumental case both for the Department of Justice and for the American people. Since my confirmation, I have prioritized the Department’s review of online market-leading platforms to ensure that our technology industries remain competitive. This lawsuit strikes at the heart of Google’s grip over the internet for millions of American consumers, advertisers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs beholden to an unlawful monopolist.”
“As with its historic antitrust actions against AT&T in 1974 and Microsoft in 1998, the Department is again enforcing the Sherman Act to restore the role of competition and open the door to the next wave of innovation this time in vital digital markets,” said Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen.