The Justice Department will file an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Tuesday, alleging that the search engine has used anticompetitive practices to shut out potential rivals, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The lawsuit will allege that Google uses a web of business agreements that maintain the search engine’s prominence to the detriment of competitors. Additionally, Google uses funds gleaned from advertisements in order to pay other carriers and cell phone makers to maintain Google as their default browser, cementing its position as the destination for 80 percent of all internet search queries in the U.S.
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) October 20, 2020
“Today’s lawsuit is the most important antitrust case in a generation,” Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), a Big Tech hawk, said in a statement. “Google and its fellow Big Tech monopolists exercise unprecedented power over the lives of ordinary Americans, controlling everything from the news we read to the security of our most personal information.”
The Justice Department has been conducting an investigation into Google for over a year, and the lawsuit represents the largest legal challenge to one company’s dominance in the tech economy in years. About ten U.S. state attorneys are expected to join the lawsuit, while almost every U.S. state is currently pursuing their own antitrust investigations into the company.
The antitrust issue could generate bipartisan agreement in Congress. Democratic staff of the House Antitrust Subcommittee released a report earlier this month alleging that Google as well as Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have engaged in anticompetitive practices.
“These firms have too much power, and that power must be reined in and subject to appropriate oversight and enforcement,” the report states. “Our economy and democracy are at stake.”