“Today’s lawsuit is the most important antitrust case in a generation,” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement after the filing. “Google and its fellow Big Tech monopolists exercise unprecedented power over the lives of ordinary Americans, controlling everything from the news we read to the security of our most personal information. And Google in particular has gathered and maintained that power through illegal means.”
The lawsuit drew bipartisan support. House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.) said in a statement that the lawsuit was “long overdue.”
“The Subcommittee’s investigation uncovered extensive evidence showing that Google maintained and extended its monopoly to harm competition,” he said in a statement. “It is critical that the Justice Department’s lawsuit focuses on Google’s monopolization of search and search advertising, while also targeting the anti-competitive business practices Google is using to leverage this monopoly into other areas, such as maps, browsers, video, and voice assistants.”
Cicilline said in early October in a House antitrust subcommittee that Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple all wield monopoly power.
“It’s Google’s business model that is the problem,” he said. “Google evolved from a turnstile to the rest of the web to a walled garden that increasingly keeps users within its sights.”
The suit, filed in a Washington federal court, asserts that Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., has tried to maintain its status as a gatekeeper to the Internet by using a number of interlocking businesses to shut out competitors, thereby securing itself as a monopoly. The DOJ claimed the Silicon Valley firm uses billions of dollars from its own advertisements to pay carriers, browsers, phone companies, and other entities to maintain Google as a default search engine.
“Absent a court order, Google will continue executing its anticompetitive strategy, crippling the competitive process, reducing consumer choice, and stifling innovation. Google is now the unchallenged gateway to the internet for billions of users worldwide,” the DOJ lawsuit alleged, resulting in negative consequences for advertisers, consumers, and upstart companies that “cannot emerge from Google’s long shadow.”
For years, the DOJ argued, American consumers have to “accept Google’s policies, privacy practices, and use of personal data.” But it added: “The time has come to stop Google’s anticompetitive conduct and restore competition.”
A spokesman for Google told Fox News that the lawsuit is unmerited.
“Today’s lawsuit by the Department of Justice is deeply flawed. People use Google because they choose to—not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives,” the spokesman said. “We will have a fuller statement this morning.”
The suit further contended that Google’s agreements and allegedly monopolistic conduct have “accounted for nearly 90 percent of all general-search-engine queries in the United States as well as almost 95 percent of queries on mobile devices.”