Colorado among states to sue Google over alleged monopoly

By: - December 17, 2020 2:47 pm

Google logo (Newsline photo)

The tech giant Google illegally maintains a monopoly over search engines and internet search advertising, say 38 attorneys general.

The attorneys, led by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, filed a civil antitrust lawsuit against Google in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, according to a news release from Weiser’s office. The suit seeks to stop Google from “unlawfully restraining trade and maintaining monopolies in markets that include general search service, general search text advertising, and general search advertising in the United States,” the lawsuit says.

“Our economy is more concentrated than ever, and consumers are squeezed when they are deprived of choices in valued products and services. Google’s anticompetitive actions have protected its general search monopolies and excluded rivals, depriving consumers of the benefits of competitive choices, forestalling innovation, and undermining new entry or expansion,” Weiser said in the release. “This lawsuit seeks to restore competition.”

Google is alleged to have established a monopoly through contracts and other conduct that stifles competition.

The U.S. Department of Justice along with 11 states filed a similar lawsuit against Google in October. That complaint accused Google of maintaining its monopoly through the use of exclusionary agreements. The new complaint goes farther in that it “describes Google as engaging in a multi-pronged effort to maintain its monopolies,” according to Weiser’s office. The attorneys general have asked the court to combine the two lawsuits.

One of the allegations in the new lawsuit is that through its monopoly power Google has been able to collect a vast amount of information about consumers, and this asset itself has served to reinforce its monopoly. The result of the monopoly is that “consumers lack choice and the benefits competition can bring, such as better quality and increased privacy,” according to the news release.

Besides Colorado, the jurisdictions involved in the new lawsuit are Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico.

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