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Google hit with THIRD antitrust lawsuit in two months: Bipartisan group of 38 Attorneys General allege the tech giant holds an 'illegal monopoly' on search services

 The attorneys general in 35 states, as well as Washington D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico, joined on Thursday to file yet another antitrust lawsuit against Google.

Led by Colorado and Nebraska, the bipartisan group alleges that the search giant has an 'illegal monopoly' over the online search market that hurts consumers and advertisers.

It is the third antitrust lawsuit filed against Google in the past two months.

In October, the Department of Justice accused the $1 trillion California-based company of illegally using its market muscle to hobble rivals.

It was joined by 11 other state attorneys general - all Republicans - when it was filed, and California also asked to join last week.

And just yesterday, ten states, again all led by Republican attorneys general, filed a lawsuit against Google accusing it of 'anti-competitive conduct' in the online advertising industry.

Attorneys general in 35 states, as well as Washington D.C., Guam and Puerto Rico, on Thursday filed another antitrust lawsuit against Google alleging an 'illegal monopoly' on online search

The third lawsuit was announced by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, pictured above, and filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Thursday

The third lawsuit was announced by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser, pictured above, and filed in federal court in Washington, D.C. on Thursday

The third lawsuit Thursday was announced by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

It mirrors the DoJ lawsuit which claims Google uses anticompetitive agreements to secure a dominant position for its search engine on smartphones.


Yet this new suit also goes one step further, alleging that Google moved to block or to downrank certain results in searches in the entertainment, travel and home improvement sector.

It claims Google prioritized its own services at the expense of rival websites that also provide search, such as Yelp for local businesses and TripAdvisor for travel.

They said that the suppression has won Google 90 percent market dominance and made it impossible for these smaller rivals.

That dominance can be seen in how a significantly large percentage of Google searches result in the user clicking on no further link as they have already received the information they needed. 

According to Search Engine Journal, more than 50 percent of Google searches end without an organic click on a further link, as users are presented with ads, with a further Google search option such as one for flights, or with an answer box. 

'Consumers are denied the benefits of competition, including the possibility of higher quality services and better privacy protections,' Weiser said in press release.

'Advertisers are harmed through lower quality and higher prices that are, in turn, passed along to consumers,' he added.

New York Attorney General Letitia James also made a statement about the lawsuit on social media, claiming that Google is using our data to 'kill off competitors'.

'I'm filing a lawsuit against @Google with 37 AGs to end its illegal monopoly in search services,' she wrote on Twitter.

'It doesn't take a web search to understand that unchecked corporate power shouldn't have disproportionate control over our data and information.

'For decades, @Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet and has weaponized our data to kill off competitors and control our decision making. While @Google continues to make billions in profits, we're all paying more for the services we use every day,' James continued.

New York Attorney General Letitia James also made a statement about the lawsuit on social media, claiming that Google was using our data to 'kill off competitors', pictured above

New York Attorney General Letitia James also made a statement about the lawsuit on social media, claiming that Google was using our data to 'kill off competitors', pictured above

'Just like our lawsuit against @Facebook, today's lawsuit should once again send a clear message to @Google and every other company: Efforts to stifle competition, reduce innovation, or cut privacy protections will be met with the full force of my office.'

The AGs have asked that their case be merged with the October suit filed by the DoJ, according to the New York Times.

The department's case includes similar accusations, but if the suits are combined, it will greatly expand the range of the federal claims against Google Search.

The multiple cases could take years to resolve.  

Google hit back at the new suit in a blog post published later on Thursday in which they claimed that redesigning the search function would harm American businesses and that it has evolved and improved the search results over the years.

'Google Search is designed to provide you with the most relevant results,' the company wrote.

Google hit back at the new suit in a blog post published later on Thursday claiming that it would harm American businesses to redesign its search and be useless to customers

Google hit back at the new suit in a blog post published later on Thursday claiming that it would harm American businesses to redesign its search and be useless to customers

The company said that a redesign would 'harm the quality of your search results'

The company said that a redesign would 'harm the quality of your search results'

Google also claimed that a change in the search would 'deprive Americans' of information

Google also claimed that a change in the search would 'deprive Americans' of information

'We know that if you don't like the results, we're giving you, you have numerous alternatives—including Amazon, Expedia, TripAdvisor and many others just a click away.'


The post then slams Thursday's suit, claiming that it believes they should not have made the improvements they have to benefit customers. 

'To get more specifically to the issues raised in today's lawsuit: it suggests we shouldn't have worked to make Search better and that we should, in fact, be less useful to you,' it states.

'This lawsuit demands changes to the design of Google Search, requiring us to prominently feature online middlemen in place of direct connections to businesses.'

Google then alleges that to change their search design from what it is 'would come at the expense of businesses' and result in them having 'a harder time reaching new customers and competing against big commerce'.

'We know that scrutiny of big companies is important, and we're prepared to answer questions and work through the issues,' the post concludes.

'But this lawsuit seeks to redesign Search in ways that would deprive Americans of helpful information and hurt businesses' ability to connect directly with customers.'

Some experts have agreed that the new suit is likely to harm consumers and small businesses.

'If you are a hotel in Taos, you can't rely on the fact that you have good ratings on Hotels.com or that there was an article that mentioned you in Travel & Leisure, because Google has decided to monetize the vast majority of the first screen of search results,' David Dinielli, a former Justice Department antitrust official, told CNN.

'The only way you can reach the customers you want to reach are to pay Google to ensure you are on that first screen as an ad, rather than as an organic result.' 

U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, pictured, had pushed to the antitrust suit to be filed before the presidential election on November 3 and it was hoped to be a win for the Trump administration

 U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, pictured, had pushed to the antitrust suit to be filed before the presidential election on November 3 and it was hoped to be a win for the Trump administration

The case is the third antitrust salvo to slam Google during the past two months as the Department of Justice and attorneys general from across the U.S. weigh in with their different variations on how they believe the company is abusing its immense power. 

They claimed Google is using this power to do things that harm other businesses, innovation and even consumers who find its services to be indispensable.

In many ways, the flurry of U.S. antitrust suits represents an attempt to catch up with European regulators who have spent the past several years trying to crack down on Google, mostly with huge fines, to little noticeable effect so far.  


On Wednesday, ten states led by Republican attorneys general filed a lawsuit against Google accusing it of 'anti-competitive conduct' in the online advertising industry, including a deal to manipulate sales with rival Facebook.

The lawsuit, which brands Google as an 'internet Goliath' and was announced by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, targets the heart of the search giant's business - the digital ads that generate nearly all its revenue.

It was prompted by complaints by publishers and other businesses whose publications rely on advertising revenue to survive.

In the lawsuit, Google is accused of striking up an illegal deal with Facebook, a major competitor for online ad sales, to manipulate advertising auction.

Google and Facebook compete heavily in online ad sales and together capture over half of the market globally.

The two players agreed in a publicized deal back in 2018 to start giving Facebook's advertiser clients the option to place ads within Google's network of publishing partners, the lawsuit alleges.

For example, a sneaker blog that uses software from Google to sell ads could end up generating revenue from a footwear retailer that bought ads on Facebook.

Executives at the highest level of the companies signed off on the deal, according to the complaint.

While that deal was announced publicly, the lawsuit alleges that Google failed to disclose it would give Facebook preferential treatment and benefits, including access to the search giant's data.

Texas and 11 other states had already previously joined the Justice Department's landmark antitrust lawsuit against Google that was filed in October.

That federal lawsuit argued that Google illegally used its market power to hobble rivals.

It accused Google of building a great search engine but then fending off competition through exclusive deals with Apple and others.

The suit also alleged that Google abused its dominance in search advertising.

California asked to join the lawsuit on Friday, making the state's attorney general the first Democrat to openly support the litigation.

Google has called the Justice Department lawsuit 'deeply flawed'.

The states began their investigation in 2019 as part of a wave of backlash against big tech companies. 

The multiple suits paint Goolgle as a ruthless giant that chokes off its competition, a far cry from how the company has hoped to present itself. 

'Collectively, this will be a comprehensive examination of Google’s ascent to power over the last 25 years,' William Kovacic, a former chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, told the New York Times of the suits. 

'These are formidable threats to the company.'

While Weiser said Thursday that it is 'premature' to discuss how Google may be brokem up, he remained confident of the states' position despite the company's large legal team.

'We have done a thorough investigation and we feel confident about our case,' he said. 

Shares in Google have dropped since this week's lawsuits were announced, finishing Thursday down by one point. 

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