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US govt sues Google over search dominance in landmark antitrust suit

In one of the biggest lawsuits in the US, the Department of Justice has tightened the noose on Google.

twitter-logoShubham Verma | October 20, 2020 | Updated 20:28 IST

Highlights

  • US government has filed a fresh antitrust case against Google.
  • Google is alleged to be misusing its power to shut its competitors in search ads.
  • Google is yet to publicly acknowledge the lawsuit against it.

Google is facing one of the biggest antitrust cases in the US today as the Department of Justice has sued the tech giant for illegally monopolising the online search and ad markets. A total of 11 US states are joining DoJ in the antitrust case.

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen detailed that the complaint against Google brings it under scrutiny for allegedly misusing its dominance on the internet to further anticompetitive practices in the US. The allegations do not include Google's targeted ad business but emphasise its role on search and advertising through its search engine.

The antitrust case against Google is the second biggest in US history where the US government will pursue parallel investigations on Google from the Department of Justice and several attorney generals individually. The first such case was when US had locked horns with Microsoft in an antitrust suit that finally settled in 2001.

In response to DoJ's complaint, Google is rebuffing all the allegations. The Sundar Pichai-led company said in its initial statement, "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."

A previous case of a similar magnitude forced Google to cough up huge fine amounts, in addition to introducing a change in the company's AdSense policy after Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched legal action against the company in 2013. Similar lawsuits against Google have emerged in Europe where the European Commission has imposed a fine of as high as EUR 4.3 billion in multiple cases including the one over the AdSense policies.

In July, Google's Sundar Pichai was among the bosses of Big Tech companies appearing in the congressional session. Google was accused of leveraging its dominance on the internet to put down its competitors. "Our documents show that Google evolved from a turnstile to the rest of the web to a walled garden that increasingly keeps users within its sites," said one of the congressmen.

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