US Justice Dept hits Google with biggest antitrust lawsuit in two decades
The United States (US) Justice Department alongwith 11 states filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet Inc's Google for allegedly violating the law in using its market power to fend off rivals.
The 11 states which joined the lawsuit all have Republican Attorneys General.
According to Republican Senator Josh Hawley, "The lawsuit promises to be the biggest antitrust case in a generation, comparable to the lawsuit against Microsoft Corp filed in 1998 and the 1974 case against AT&T which led to the breakup of the Bell System."
The Microsoft lawsuit cleared the way for the exponential growth of the internet as the antitrust scrutiny prevented the company from attempting to thwart competitors.
More lawsuits could be imminent since probes by State Attorneys General into Google's broader businesses are under way, as well as an investigation of its broader digital advertising businesses.
A group of Attorneys General led by Texas is expected to file a separate lawsuit focused on digital advertising, while a group led by Colorado is contemplating a more expansive lawsuit against Google.
It may be noted that for more than a year the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission have been conducting antitrust investigations into four big tech companies: Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Google.
Seven years ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) settled an antitrust probe into Google over alleged bias in its search function to favor its products, among other issues.
Google has also faced similar legal challenges overseas.
The European Union fined Google $1.7 billion in 2019 for stopping websites from using Google's rivals to find advertisers, $2.6 billion in 2017 for favoring its own shopping business in search, and $4.9 billion in 2018 for blocking rivals on its wireless Android operating system.