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Saturday, March 25, 2023

Google Sued by U.S. for Monopoly Abuse in Antitrust Case

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The U.S. Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc.’s Google, accusing it of abusing its monopoly in search and search advertising in the most significant antitrust action against an American company in more than two decades.

Google, which controls about 90 percent of the online search market in the U.S., was sued by the Justice Department Tuesday in Washington, according to court records. The complaint was joined by 11 Republican state attorneys generals.

Google shares fell less than 1% at 9:30 a.m. in New York.

The complaint is the first phase of what’s shaping up as a multi-pronged attack against Google. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is preparing a complaint against the company over its conduct in the digital-advertising market, where it controls much of the technology used by advertisers and publishers to buy and sell display ads across the web.

Google’s search business generates most of the company’s revenue and has funded its expansion into email, online video, smartphone software, maps, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles and display advertising. The search engine influences the fates of thousands of businesses online, which depend on Google to get in front of users.

Google began dominating online search 20 years ago with an algorithm that delivered results better than others’. Since then it has also relied on exclusive agreements and its own products, like its Android mobile operating system, to be the default search option for millions of users. That’s given it an insurmountable advantage over rivals, according to critics.

The suit is the biggest monopoly case brought by the U.S. since the Justice Department and a group of states accused Microsoft of illegally monopolizing the market for computer operating systems. That case, brought under former president Bill Clinton, nearly led to the company’s breakup.

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