January 28, 2021

Google faces a third government antitrust lawsuit


Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google

Anindito Mukherjee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Google now faces its third government antitrust lawsuit in less than two months, this time from a bipartisan coalition of state attorneys general.

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser led the group of 38 states and territories in the lawsuit, which claims Google illegally maintained a monopoly in general search and search advertising through anticompetitive conduct and contracts.

Similar to the Justice Department’s lawsuit filed with 11 Republican state AGs in October, the new complaint tackles Google’s alleged monopoly in online search. But the new suit focuses on different mechanisms that the AGs claim Google used to illegally maintain its monopoly power.

The DOJ lawsuit alleges Google’s used exclusionary contracts to prevent competitors from gaining access to key distribution channels and ensure its continued monopoly in online search.

A group of ten Republican AGs sued Google on Wednesday, targeting its advertising technology business and an allegedly illegal deal with Facebook.

The new lawsuit against Google comes about a week after many of the same states sued Facebook in a coalition of 48 attorneys general led by New York’s Letitia James. The states, and a separate complaint by the Federal Trade Commission, claimed Facebook had unlawfully maintained monopoly power in personal social networking services in part by acquiring potential competitors before they grew into larger threats.

In a statement following the DOJ’s initial lawsuit against Google, several of he states said that if they filed their own complaint, they would seek to consolidate it with the existing lawsuit.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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