News roundup: the US takes on Google in huge lawsuit

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US launches landmark anti-trust case against Google

In what is being described as the most significant legal challenge to a major tech company in decades, the United States Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against Google for anti-competitive practices. Specifically, the DoJ accuses the tech giant of abusing its power to maintain an illegal monopoly within the search and advertising industry, acting as a gatekeeper to the web through a set of business arrangements designed to shut out any competition.

In the suit, the DoJ alleged that the once “scrappy start-up with an innovative way to search the emerging internet” that Google was is long gone, with the company now using “pernicious” anti-competitive tactics to uphold its monopolistic dominance within the market. One of these tactics, according to the DoJ, is the preloading of its search app within Android smartphones, which can’t actually be deleted. The suit also points to Google’s practice of paying billions to “secure default status for its general search engine and, in many cases, to specifically prohibit Google’s counterparties from dealing with Google’s competitors.”

Google commented that the lawsuit is “deeply flawed” in a statement, arguing, “People use Google because they choose to – not because they’re forced to or because they can’t find alternatives… This lawsuit would do nothing to help consumers. To the contrary, it would artificially prop up lower-quality search alternatives, raise phone prices, and make it harder for people to get the search services they want to use.”

This latest development marks the continuation the US’s apparent sour mood toward its generally beloved tech giant darlings, with various investigations taking place, the release of an anti-trust report a couple of weeks ago, and a new set of FCC reforms last week. Things do really seem to be heating up in Silicon Valley.

 

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