Google accused of abusing search monopoly as antitrust cases mount

Dozens of US states and territories have launched the first US antitrust challenge to Google’s core search engine, the latest in a spate of lawsuits to hit the internet giant.

The bipartisan group of 38 attorneys-general took aim at what it claimed were deliberate moves by the company to block rival specialised search services from reaching users.

The claim echoes a case that the Federal Trade Commission sought to mount against Google eight years ago, although the US regulator ultimately backed away from suing.

The latest case, led by Phil Weiser, the attorney-general of Colorado, came a day after 10 Republican state attorneys-general filed their own lawsuit claiming Google had used its control of all parts of the digital advertising supply chain to monopolise adverts and fix prices to suit itself.

Google also faces a complaint from the US Department of Justice, backed by 12 states, over allegations that it created a web of contracts and partnerships to make it harder for rivals to reach an audience on smartphones or other devices.

Mr Weiser said the states would seek to attach their case to the DoJ action, turning what started out as narrowly targeted lawsuit into an increasingly broad-ranging challenge against many of the ways Google does business.

The latest case echoes the DoJ action in challenging the way Google uses contracts to guarantee distribution of its search engine, while going further in attacking deals that it said the company was using to monopolise new markets like smart speakers, televisions and cars.

In a parallel to the Texas-led case from Republican states lodged on Wednesday, it also takes aim at Google’s search advertising business, accusing it of using a tool called Search Advertising 360 to lock advertisers into its own service.

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