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Google has gotten bigger over the years, and that increased market share has come at the cost of increased scrutiny. The Department of Justice filed a massive antitrust lawsuit against the company in October, and last month we learned that more might be on the way. Those predictions have now come to pass, as a collection of nearly 40 states has filed a new suit against Google accusing it of “building an impenetrable moat around its kingdom.” But it may be a while before this litigious jousting match goes to trial.
The latest lawsuit comes from a collection attorneys general from 38 states, led by Colorado and Nebraska. It’s an expansive filing that claims Google hasn’t come about its massive search monopoly fairly, but by engaging in a variety of anti-competitive practices, such as negotiating special deals that ensure Google is the default search option on web browsers, smartphones, and smart home devices. It also alleges that Google manipulates its search results in order to provide its own products with a leg up over competitors, ranking them higher than rivals.
The officials bringing this new case will likely seek to join forces with the DOJ’s lawsuit filed in October. Even with the cases being combined, it might take several years until justice can begin to be served. The U.S. District Judge hearing the DOJ’s case has suggested a trial date of September 12, 2023, and neither side has objected to the schedule. These are big matters of much consequence, so both DOJ and Google lawyers expect it to take multiple years to put the case together.
Google responded in a lengthy blog post today, stating that the lawsuit seeks to redesign Search in “ways that would deprive Americans of helpful information and hurt businesses’ ability to connect directly with customers.”
This is the third lawsuit that has been filed against Google in the last few months, coming on the heels of one filed yesterday by Texas AG Ken Paxton and nine other officials accusing Google of malpractice with its targeted advertising business. And it isn’t the only big tech company that regulators are going after — Facebook was the subject of litigation earlier this month aimed at undoing its acquisition of smaller rivals like Instagram and WhatsApp.