U.S., 11 states sue Google for antitrust over search and search ads

Oct. 20, 2020 9:51 AM ETAlphabet Inc. (GOOG)GOOG, GOOGL, AMZN, AAPL, METABy: Jason Aycock, SA News Editor371 Comments
  • The U.S. Justice Dept. and 11 states filed a landmark antitrust suit against Google ([GOOG +1%, GOOGL +1.1%), charging the search-engine giant with anticompetitive conduct to preserve monopolies in search and search advertising.
  • That marks the biggest challenge from the U.S. against a tech company since DOJ's '90s case against Microsoft.
  • Along with Texas, the states joining in the action are Arkansas; Florida; Georgia; Indiana; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Missouri; Montana; and South Carolina. All have Republican attorneys general.
  • And the filing keeps a promise for a president who pledged to go after tech companies that he alleges use their dominance in part to stifle conservative voices.
  • The government is taking assertive action against a company particularly dominant in mobile search, where it has 95% market share (to go with 85% in mobile operating systems with Android, and 70% search share in browsers).
  • The action comes more than a year after the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission each began antitrust probes into Google along with Amazon.com (AMZN -0.1%), Apple (AAPL +0.3%) and Facebook (FB +1.3%).
  • The filing was expected to come this month after reports that U.S. Attorney General William Barr was pressing for a speedy filing, over objections by some staff attorneys that they wanted more time to prepare an airtight case.
  • Google is expected to fight back with vigor; in hearings and filings it has maintained that it faces spirited rivals in all its markets.

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