World News – United States – US to accuse Google of protecting illegal monopoly


A government victory could remake one of America’s best-known companies and the Internet economy it helped define

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department plans to accuse Google of maintaining an illegal monopoly on search and advertising in a lawsuit to be launched on Tuesday, the government’s largest legal challenge against the market power of a tech company for a generation, agency officials say

In its lawsuit, to be filed in federal court in Washington, DC, the agency will accuse Google, a unit of Alphabet, of illegally maintaining its monopoly on search through several exclusive commercial contracts and agreements that lock in competition, said officials, who were not authorized to speak officially These contracts include the payment by Google of billions of dollars to Apple to place the Google search engine as the default search engine for iPhones

The agency will argue that Google, which controls around 80% of search queries in the United States, has made deals with phone makers that use Alphabet’s Android operating system to preload the search engine on their phones and make rival search difficult engines to become a replacement Using contracts to maintain its monopoly, competition and innovation suffered, the lawsuit with

The lawsuit reflects resistance against the power of the nation’s biggest corporations, and in particular tech giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple Conservatives like President Trump and liberals like Senator Elizabeth Warren have been very critical of the concentration of power in a handful of technological behemoths

Attorney General William P Barr, who was appointed by Mr. Trump, played an unusually active role in the investigation He pushed career lawyers at the Justice Department to bring the case by the end of September, prompting lawyers who wanted more time and complained. political influence Mr Barr has spoken publicly about the investigation for months and set tight deadlines for prosecutors leading the effort

Trial can last for years and spark a cascade of other antitrust lawsuits from state attorneys general About four dozen states and jurisdictions have conducted parallel investigations and are expected to file separate complaints against the grip company on online advertising technology

A government victory could remake one of America’s best-known companies and the Internet economy it has helped define since its inception by two students who graduated from Stanford University in 1998

But Google has long denied accusations of antitrust violations and is expected to fight government efforts using a global network of Alphabet lawyers, economists and lobbyists, worth $ 1.04 trillion. and with $ 120 billion in cash reserves, fought similar antitrust lawsuits in Europe

The company claims it has stiff competition in the search market, with more people finding information on sites like Amazon It claims its services have been a boon for small businesses

The lawsuit comes two weeks after Democratic lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee released a sprawling report on tech giants who accused Google of controlling a monopoly on online search and the ads that appear when users enter a request

« A significant number of entities – spanning large state-owned companies, small businesses and entrepreneurs – depend on Google for traffic, and no alternative search engine serves as a substitute, » the report says Lawmakers have also accused Apple, Amazon and Facebook of abusing their market power

Review shows how Google has become a dominant player in communications, commerce and media over the past two decades It controls 90% of the online search market, according to one estimate This business is lucrative: last year, Google reported $ 34 billion in search revenue in the United States, according to research firm eMarketer This figure is expected to rise to $ 42.5 billion by 2022, according to the firm

The lawsuit is the result of an investigation that has lasted for more than a year Prosecutors spoke to Google competitors in the fields of technology and media, gathering information and documents that could be used to develop a case

Mr Barr, a former telecommunications executive who has already argued an antitrust case to the Supreme Court, has indicated he will subject the tech giants to a further review during his confirmation hearing in early 2019 He said that « a lot of people wonder how these huge behemoths that now exist in Silicon Valley took shape under the noses of antitrust authorities. »

He put the investigation under the control of his deputy, Jeffrey Rosen, who in turn hired an assistant from a large law firm to oversee the case and other technological matters. m Barr’s grip on the investigation tightened when the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, withdrew from the investigation because he had pressured Google to acquire the DoubleClick advertising service in 2007

Mr Barr has been pushing prosecutors to wrap up their investigations – and decide whether to file a complaint – before election day While Department of Justice officials are generally quiet about their investigations until a case is filed, M Barr has publicly stated his intention to make a decision on the Google case by the end of the summer.He referred to the agency’s antitrust investigation when asked about unproven charges that the speech curator is smothered online

This year, most of the 40 or so lawyers dealing with the case said they were opposed to Mr. Barr’s Sept 30 deadline Some said they would not sign the complaint and several left the case this summer

Google was last reviewed by a U.S. antitrust regulator almost ten years ago, when the Federal Trade Commission investigated whether it had abused its power in the search market Agency staff recommended laying charges against the company, according to a note published by the Wall Street Journal But the agency’s five commissioners voted in 2013 not to press charges

Other governments have been more aggressive against big tech companies The European Union has filed three antitrust lawsuits against Google in recent years, focusing on its search engine, advertising activity and Android mobile operating system UK and Australian regulators are reviewing digital advertising market, in investigations that may eventually involve the company

« This is the most high-profile monopolization action taken by the government since the Microsoft affair in the late 1990s, » said Bill Baer, ​​former head of the antitrust division of the Department of Justice « This is important in that the government believes that a high performing technology platform has engaged in behaviors that illegally maintain its monopoly power and, therefore, harm consumers and competition. » »

Google and its allies are likely to criticize the lawsuit as politically motivated The Trump administration has attacked Google, which owns YouTube, and other online platform companies, as biased against conservative views

The lawsuit will likely last longer than the Trump administration itself The government case against Microsoft took more than a decade to resolve

While it is possible that a new Democratic administration will examine the strategy behind this affair, some experts have said it is unlikely to be withdrawn under new leadership

United States Antitrust Law, United States Department of Justice, Google, Law

News from the world – United States – US to accuse Google of protecting the illegal monopoly


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