Google was hit with its third anti-trust lawsuit, this time by a coalition of 38 states.
The lawsuit alleges Google maintained monopoly power over the internet-search market through anti-competitive contracts and conduct, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“As the gateway to the internet, Google has systematically degraded the ability of other companies to access consumers,” the states said in a wide-ranging complaint making allegations about Google’s search and advertising businesses.
Google claims it operates in competitive markets, and its products benefit consumers.
The suit followed a Wednesday complaint from other states focused on Google’s digital advertising empire and an Oct. 20 Justice Department suit also targeting its search business.
Thursday’s suit added allegations not covered in detail in the other two complaints. The lawsuits could proceed separately or eventually join in a single case over what could be years of litigation.
The lawsuit is bipartisan.
The states’ probe extended beyond the Justice Department investigation, which sued Google on Oct. 20, alleging the company preserved a monopoly in the general online-search business through illegal anti-competitive tactics. That suit didn’t make detailed complaints about Google’s more targeted search businesses or its online advertising empire.
Google has called the federal suit deeply flawed, arguing that it competes on merit and maintains dominance because consumers choose its product first.
Congress is also considering changes to antitrust law to bolster enforcers’ abilities to go after big tech companies, though partisan disagreements could frustrate those legislative efforts.
The move against Google comes as they abuse their powers of censorship.
Facebook Inc. was hit Dec. 9 with antitrust lawsuits from the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states alleging that the social-media titan stifled competition by buying or freezing out smaller startups. Facebook disputed the claims and said it would defend itself vigorously.
The policy towards these companies was hands-off. That tide shifted in the past two years, as policymakers became concerned about the power they wield.