Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Thursday partnered with 38 other Attorneys General around the country to file a federal antitrust lawsuit against Google, asserting that the tech giant illegally stifles competing search engines.
“Corporations that form illegal monopolies cripple competition and harm individual consumers,” Ferguson said in a statement. “We will continue holding powerful interests accountable when they engage in unfair, anticompetitive conduct that harms Washingtonians.”
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and specifically argues that Google and parent company Alphabet, Inc., uses contracts and unlawful business practices to protect a monopoly over the industry, which the attorneys argue harms consumers, undermines competition and hampers innovation.
“Google annually provides billions of dollars in financial incentives to pre-install Google Search as the default or exclusive search program on established and emerging internet-connected devices ranging from computers and smart phones to voice-based home speakers and internet-connected vehicles,” according to a news release from the AG’s office. “The bipartisan lawsuit asserts that this is an anticompetitive practice intended to protect Google’s monopoly, and, consequently, unlawful.”
The lawsuit also claims the search engine drives users away from sellers that provide competing or similar services.
“Nearly 90 percent of all internet searches in the United States run through Google’s search engine. No other competing search engine has more than 7 percent of the market,” the news release states.
Google’s revenue has grown 300 percent in the past decade. In 2019, Google made $98 billion in revenue for advertising, according to the AG’s office.