This time, it’s official: the US Department of Justice is suing Google for infringement of competition law in order to preserve its monopoly in the field of research and online advertising.
These lawsuits represent the largest legal action in more than 20 years by the United States federal government against one of the GAFA giants.
The complaint was filed in federal court in the US capital, Washington DC. The government’s recommendations were not specified, but according to an official from the Ministry of Justice cited by the Wall Street Journal, ” all options are on the table “. They could therefore include recommendations aimed at dismantling certain parts of the search engine giant.
For her part, a spokesperson for Google disputed the complaint, which she considers ” deeply questionable “. ” People use Google because they choose it, not because they are forced to do so or because they cannot find an alternative ” she added.
A precedent in Europe
Google was fined 4.3 billion euros in 2018 from the European competition authorities for unfair practices in the Android ecosystem, in order to strengthen its dominant position, particularly in the field of internet research.
Like its competitors Amazon, Facebook and Apple, Google has been in the crosshairs of the American authorities for several years. Various investigations have been launched against GAFA by federal agencies, parliamentary committees as well as prosecutors in almost all American states.
At the political level, these groups have drawn the wrath of both conservative elected officials, who accuse them of partiality, as well as progressive elected officials, who are worried about infringements of competition law and the strengthening of inequalities caused by Big Tech.
Republican Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley, very critical of the GAFA, welcomed the pending lawsuits of the US government, saying it would be ” largest abuse of dominance lawsuit in a generation. “