Tue 20 October 2020:
The US Justice Department and 11 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc’s Google on Tuesday for allegedly breaking the law in using its market power to fend off rivals.
The move comes after months of investigations by federal and state antitrust enforcers seeking to check the power of the massive technology firm and parallel probes into other giants such as Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
The lawsuit includes allegations that Google paid billions of dollars to mobile phone manufacturers to allow its Chrome browser to be used as a default search engine on smartphones.
Lawmakers and consumers have long criticized Google and its parent company, Alphabet, for data mining, helping other companies tailor specific online advertisements suited to user preferences based on individuals’ interests, visited websites and online purchases.
The Silicon Valley company that controls around 90% of global internet searches will also face charges for abusing its dominance and therefore allegedly harming consumers.
While the lawsuit could be a milestone to protect competition in the US since a similar antitrust case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago, it could also open the door for more lawsuits against tech monopolies, including Amazon, Facebook and Apple.
The European Union fined Google $1.7 billion in 2019 for stopping websites from using Google’s rivals to find advertisers, $2.6 billion in 2017 for favoring its own shopping business in search, and $4.9 billion in 2018 for blocking rivals on its wireless Android operating system.
The Google case is expected to be filed in a federal court in Washington.
Google shares slipped in pre-market trading.
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