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US DoJ sues "Monopolist Google" for violating antitrust laws

23 October 2020

DoJ complains that Google has entered into 'exclusionary agreements' that hinder competition

DoJ argues that Google is acting as an "illegal monopoly" by virtue of agreements it has entered into with other companies to promote its products and place its "search access points" as unremovable defaults on browsers, smartphones and other devices. And that given that advantage, the company has proceeded to abuse its dominance in online search, harming both competitors and consumers.

Google argues that its customers are the advertisers, and that consumers use its services because they want to, and because they're both useful and free.

But DoJ counter-argues that Google “deprives rivals of the quality, reach, and financial position necessary to mount any meaningful competition to Google’s longstanding monopolies” and that this has harmed the quality of search services. Also that Google's services are not free to consumers, in terms of privacy.

DoJ has been joined in its lawsuit - announced exactly 2 weeks prior to the presidential election - by 11 state attorneys general, all of them Republicans. (Is that a coincidence?)

If DoJ prevails in this lawsuit, Google will be looking at major fines and damage claims from competitors and on behalf of the public. But the big threat is that DoJ could force the breakup of Google's businesses - something we expect Google to vigorously oppose.

How will this play out? Will the simple fact of the existence of the suit influence the election? Will Google be broken up?

Watch this space.

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David Boggs    - David
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