MarketWatch: Google officially charged with antitrust by Justice Department

October 20, 2020 Media

The Justice Department formally charged Alphabet Inc.’s Google with antitrust violations Tuesday, the first major action against Big Tech for its staggering market power and valuations.

“Google is a monopolist in the general search services, search advertising, and general search text advertising markets,” according to the Justice Department’s complaint, filed in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday morning. “Google aggressively uses its monopoly positions, and the money that flows from them, to continuously foreclose rivals and protect its monopolies.”

Deputy Attorney General Jeff Rosen said Tuesday morning that Google GOOGGOOGL was charged with violating the Sherman Act with its search and search-advertising businesses after a 16-month investigation. The specific issues referenced included Google’s deals to be the default search engine on popular online services and browsers, Google tying its search engine into phones running Alphabet’s Android operating system, and “anti-forking” agreements that manufacturers who use Android sign.

Consumer advocates called the antitrust lawsuit long overdue but narrow in scope. “Google has nine products with more than a billion users, and it has market power in maps, online display advertising, and video, as well as general search, browsers, and niche but significant areas like access to airline ticketing information,” Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, said in a statement. “Fortunately, efforts to address Google’s control over online commerce are growing.”