WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Tuesday sued Google for antitrust violations, alleging that it abused its dominance in online search and advertising to stifle competition and harm consumers.
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.
Google has long denied the claims of unfair competition. It argues that although its businesses are large, they are useful and beneficial to consumers.
Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson commented on the suit, saying:
“Over the last year, both the DOJ and state attorneys general have conducted separate but parallel investigations into Google’s anticompetitive market behavior. We appreciate the strong bipartisan cooperation among the states and the good working relationship with the DOJ on these serious issues. This is a historic time for both federal and state antitrust authorities, as we work to protect competition and innovation in our technology markets. We plan to conclude parts of our investigation of Google in the coming weeks. If we decide to file a complaint, we would file a motion to consolidate our case with the DOJ’s. We would then litigate the consolidated case cooperatively, much as we did in the Microsoft case.”