Google Is Sued by 38 States Over 'Anticompetitive Conduct'

Google allegedly 'uses its gargantuan collection of data to strengthen barriers of expansion and entry' the lawsuit charges.
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Thirty-eight state attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Alphabet's Google  (GOOGL) - Get Report Thursday, charging that the search engine giant maintains monopoly power over search engines and search advertising markets through anticompetitive contracts and conduct.

Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said he's leading a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general in suing Google for "anticompetitive conduct in violation of Section 2 of the Sherman Act."

The suit alleged that Google illegally maintains its monopoly power over general search engines and related advertising markets through a series of anticompetitive exclusionary contracts and conduct.

Among other things, the suit said Google continuously favors advertising on its own platform, inflating its profits to the detriment of advertisers and consumers. 

"Google uses its gargantuan collection of data to strengthen barriers of expansion and entry, which blunts and burdens firms that threaten its search-related monopolies," the complaint stated, "(including general search services, general search text advertising, and general search advertising)." 

Google also allegedly seeks monopolize the emerging ways consumers access general search engines, such as through their home smart speakers, televisions, or in their cars.

The bipartisan effort comes one day after 10 Republican state attorneys general filed a separate lawsuit against Google in federal court in Texas, accusing the search giant of illegally stifling competition in the advertising technology market.

In October, the the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust case against the tech giant.

Eleven states attorneys general joined the lawsuit, while the Department of Justice said it has asked for "structural relief as needed to cure any anticompetitive harm" in what may be the biggest U.S monopoly case in more than two decades. 

Miller said the latest lawsuit was consistent with the DOJ case but asserts additional allegations and describes Google’s monopoly maintenance scheme as a multi-part effort.

 "Combined with the other recent lawsuits filed against Google, never before have so many states and the federal government come together to challenge a company with such power,” Miller said in a statement. “Google has more data on consumers, and more variety of information, than perhaps any entity in history.”

Earlier this month, the Federal Trade Commission and most states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Facebook  (FB) - Get Report, charging that the company engaged in anticompetitive behavior to maintain a monopoly position in personal social networking.

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