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US Justice Department to file an antitrust lawsuit against Google: Reports

By Nadeem Sarwar October 20, 2020, 10:00 am
Google

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is expected to file an anti-trust lawsuit against Google for abusing its dominant market position to stifle competition and engaging in anti-competitive practices. Separate reports from The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Associated Press claim that the justice department will file its anti-trust lawsuit today, with key points of the lawsuit targeting Google’s monopoly over search and search-driven advertisement.

Google's monopoly over search will be targeted

Earlier today, the US justice department announced that Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey A. Rosen will hold a virtual briefing on an antitrust announcement that starts at 9:45 am ET. The anti-trust lawsuit will be filed in a Washington, D.C., federal court and will allege Google of abusing its search monopoly to choke its rivals and harming consumers in the long run. “It will also allege that Google uses billions of dollars collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers,” a source familiar with the matter was quoted as saying by AP. 

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“The department will allege that Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc., is maintaining its status as gatekeeper to the internet through an unlawful web of exclusionary and interlocking business agreements that shut out competitors,” noted The Wall Street Journal report. Additionally, the anti-trust lawsuit will also target Google for pre-installing some of its own apps on smartphones running its DOJ will reportedly accuse Google of abusing its dominant market position to stifle competition and engaging in anti-competitive practices.

Google will be accused of unlawful exclusionary and interlocking business agreements to maintain its status quo

Plus, Google’s practice of allegedly prevent rival search apps from being pre-installed on Android phones will also be put into question. The DOJ will reportedly accuse Google of paying smartphone makers to ensure that Google is the default search engine on their Android smartphones. Recently, there have been calls for breaking up Google due to its almost absolute dominance in many segments. Of course, Google has vehemently opposed any divestiture or business dissevering in the past, and will likely do so while defending itself in the latest anti-trust lawsuit filed by the justice department. 

For example, Google is the world’s biggest and most heavily used search engine, YouTube is the world’s largest video sharing platform, Chrome is the most widely-used browser, Android is the world’s biggest mobile operating system and Google Maps is the most popular location and mapping service. Google has re-iterated multiple times in the past, especially in the most recent senate grilling, that the company promotes a level playing field, but regulators are not too convinced with the defense.

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