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US Going After Google in Landmark Case

Justice Department to file an antitrust suit, and implications could be far-flung in tech
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 20, 2020 8:09 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Justice Department is expected to file a lawsuit Tuesday alleging that Google has been abusing its online dominance in online search to stifle competition and harm consumers, per the AP. The Washington Post also has the story, saying it "could have vast implications not only for Google but the entirety of a tech industry that has faced new, unprecedented scrutiny in recent years for the unrivaled power, money and data it has amassed." The litigation marks the government’s most significant act to protect competition since its groundbreaking case against Microsoft more than 20 years ago. The suit could be an opening salvo ahead of other major government antitrust actions, given ongoing investigations of major tech companies including Apple, Amazon, and Facebook at both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Lawmakers and consumer advocates have long accused Google, whose corporate parent Alphabet Inc. has a market value just over $1 trillion, of abusing its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and boost its profits. Critics contend that multibillion-dollar fines and mandated changes in Google’s practices imposed by European regulators in recent years weren’t severe enough and that structural changes are needed for Google to change its conduct. The case is expected to be filed in federal court in DC, and will also allege that Google uses billions collected from advertisers to pay phone manufacturers to ensure Google is the default search engine on browsers.

(Read more Google stories.)

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