California seeks to join Justice Department antitrust case against Google

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California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Friday moved to join the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Google.

Becerra is the first Democrat to seek to join the case that accuses the California-based company of illegally maintaining a monopoly on search and search advertising. 

“Google’s market dominance leaves consumers and small businesses with little choice when it comes to internet search engines. By using exclusionary agreements to dominate the market, Google has stifled competition and rigged the advertising market,” Becerra said in a statement

“This lawsuit paves the way for search engine innovation with greater regard for privacy and data protection,” Becerra added. 

The Justice Department filed its lawsuit against the tech giant in October, and was joined by 11 Republican state attorneys general at the time. 

The lawsuit alleges Google entered into exclusionary contracts with phone makers to preload Google’s search engine onto devices using Alphabet’s Android operating system. It also argues those contracts allowed Google to maintain a monopoly and stifle out competition and innovation. 

The lawsuit also accuses the tech giant of using profits from its alleged monopoly to buy preferential treatment for its search engine on web browsers. 

The company has rejected the case’s claims as “deeply flawed” and argued there is plenty of competition in the search market and that their contracts with devices and web browsers do not exclude other options. 

“People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives. We’re confident in our position and we’ll continue to make our case in court,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement Friday. 

The lawsuit against Google is one of a growing number of legal challenges facing big tech companies. 

Earlier this week, Becerra and 47 other attorneys general across 46 states, Washington, D.C., and the territory of Guam filed a lawsuit against Facebook alleging the social media giant sought to maintain its monopoly power by acquiring potential rivals, including Instagram and WhatsApp. The case also accuses Facebook of stifling innovation by cutting off platform services to competitors. 

The Federal Trade Commision (FTC) filed its own separate antitrust lawsuit against Facebook the same day. 

Facebook has pushed back on the allegations, emphasizing that both acquisitions were approved by regulators at the time. 

“This is revisionist history,” Jennifer Newstead, Facebook’s vice president and general counsel, said in a statement Wednesday afternoon. “Antitrust laws exist to protect consumers and promote innovation, not to punish successful businesses.”

Tags Alphabet antitrust Department of Justice Federal Trade Commissionanti Google Xavier Becerra

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