Dozens of states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Thursday, alleging that the search giant has an illegal monopoly over the online search market that hurts consumers and advertisers. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington, DC, the AP reports, by attorneys general of 35 states as well as the District of Columbia and the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. "Consumers are denied the benefits of competition, including the possibility of higher quality services and better privacy protections. Advertisers are harmed through lower quality and higher prices that are, in turn, passed along to consumers," Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said. Google did not respond to a request for comment. "Google has built a monopoly in online advertising that is unfair, excludes competitors and drives up prices, said an official for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization. "And with its control of its search engine, Google has been able to unfairly filter out listings for competitors while promoting its own businesses."
The case is the third antitrust salvo to slam Google during the past two months as the US Department of Justice and states weigh in with their different variations on how they believe the company is abusing its immense power to do things that harm other businesses, innovation, and even consumers who find its services to be indispensable. In many ways, the flurry of antitrust suits represent an attempt to catch up with European regulators, who have spent the past several years trying to crack down on Google, mostly with huge fines, to little noticeable effect so far. The lawsuit was joined by the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, 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, and Wyoming. (Texas has announced another multistate lawsuit.)